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28334 No. 28334


“—sleeping can be a form of emotional escape and can with sustained effort be abused—”


>> No. 28335
…It’s not that I believe what she’s asking is impossible. Not for other people. Not for people who are greater than I am. But it’s because she’s asking me that I can’t answer her so surely. I’m not qualified to do anything like that. I don’t want to have to do something like that. It’s too lofty a goal for a nobody like me. I can’t save the environment or the world or whatever, it’s just not within my abilities to do so. I don’t have the knowledge, drive, or resources to pull off something like that on my own.

But maybe she’s right. Maybe I do need more than this. Maybe I need the drive to attempt something that’s bigger than I am, even if it’s impossible. The way I was living before, just eating when I’m hungry and sleeping when I’m sleepy, going through the same routine mindlessly while doing the bare minimum to survive, is no different from how a dog lives its life; an animal driven only by brute instinct with no ability or even possibility of the higher comprehension that humans are gifted with.

My way of life right now is a waste, and I need to do something about it. I've always known that, but up until now, I’ve never really had the desire or the motivation to do anything about it. So, what about now? Can I manage that if I agree to what she says? Will I really be able to commit myself to bettering my life by making it my goal to better the world?

Maybe I… maybe I really can do this after all. Maybe I can be something—be someone.

“F-fine,” I manage to finally blurt out after a few moments of deliberation. “But I’m doing this for me I-it’s not because of you, okay? It’s not for your sake. I’ll prove to you that humanity can solve the problems they create themselves!”

As I make my declaration, I finally notice that she’s not even standing where she was before. I stand there, my mouth gaping open in shock as I stare straight ahead at empty air. W-what the hell? Where did she…?

From somewhere below, I hear a heavy door swinging shut.

How rude! Goddamn it, now I just look like an idiot, shouting a heartfelt declaration while standing alone here like a moron. Grumbling, I swear to never have a serious discussion with her ever again as I walk off toward the edge of the roof. Very cautiously, I climb down the rusted, rickety ladder to reach the front door to my home to tug it open and head inside.

Not wanting to deal with anything else tonight, I head straight for my room after turning the lock on the door. Just as quickly, I head over to the computer, looking over the monitor. The black window remains completely blank save for my initial greeting. Huh. No reply yet? What’s up? Is the program bugged and not working, or what?

…maybe something bad happened to that chick?

Or I guess she could just be outside or asleep. I guess I can’t expect her to be at the computer all the time. It’s a bit unnerving, though. Senpai’s cell phone is off and this hacker won’t respond. There haven’t been any calls from those policemen, either. I guess I could chalk that up to them either being lazy or just not keeping to their end of the deal. Hell, for all I know, they could be getting a riot squad to besiege us or something. A part of me regrets leaving things the way they are now, but whatcha-gonna-do.

…I guess I’ll go to sleep.

“Good night, master.”

“Night.”

---

November 8, Sunday

---

>Hey. Are you there? I’ve got some things I need to tell you.
A.> sorry, I fell asleep at the computer.
A.> feels like it’s been forever since I’ve had a good night’s sleep.
A.> but anyway, do you have anything on Kurosawa Takeshi?
A.> I’ve been searching non-stop, but I can’t find anything on him. I’m starting to think that maybe he doesn’t exist.
>Morning. If you’re still there, then yeah, I found just a little tidbit about the guy.
A.> Do tell.
>Apparently he was supposed to show for a meeting with the Cactus group
>You know what Cactus is, right?
A.> Kaktus, the world’s current leading weapons manufacturer?
>Yeah, that Cactus.
A.> How strange. If he was involved with such a high profile company, then there’s no way that I shouldn’t be able to get SOMETHING on him.
>I thought so too. I think he might be covering his own tracks. Apparently he never showed up for the meeting.
A.> So he doesn’t want to be found?
>That’s my guess.
A.> Then that means that there must be a reason.
A.> Could be that he’s hiding himself because of the death mail.
>Oh. So he’s gone into hiding to get away from that?
A.> I find the reasoning a bit suspect, though.
>?
A.> Logically, most people would dismiss an e-mail message like that as a prank or a joke
A.> a normal person wouldn’t go out of their way to hide themselves after receiving a message like that.
>So… maybe he’s just paranoid?
A.> I don’t believe that is a satisfying conclusion.
A.> I believe that there must be another reason for his actions, if he really did do everything in his power to conceal his personal details.
A.> Maybe he’s not hiding out of fear of the message.
A.> maybe he’s hiding from something else.
>Like what?
A.> I don’t know. You tell me. How did you find out about his meeting with that company, anyway?
>I have a friend who works there.
A.> You heard this from a friend?
>?
>What’s wrong with that?
A.> You didn’t get him involved in this, did you?
>Not really. He didn’t ask many questions.
A.> Is that so?
A.> Well, it’s best that way.
A.> We want as few people in the know about this as is ideal. You understand that, correct?

Er, yeah, about that… I decide to hold off on telling her about the cops I kind of let away knowing a lot more than they really should. More importantly, I need to tell her what I managed to find out about that angel and hir stupid little speech about humans being sheep, new world, yadda yadda yadda. All that stuff. You know, the important stuff that I kind of neglected to tell her before.

A.> So this Savior wants to create a new world?
>Yeah, I’m a little confused about that too. Can’t he already do that?
A.> Not exactly.
A.> I told you before that the replica world, what he calls the Closed Boundary, is the result of a time-and-space manipulation spell, right?
>I guess
A.> The new dimension exists in a space between this dimension and another
A.> thus it doesn’t exist in a true dimension of its own.
A.> Basically it’s halfway between this world and another.
>So, what? Is he trying to make a new dimension?
A.> He could have meant it figuratively
A.> After all, if you change something enough, it becomes something completely different.
>What is he trying to do, though?
A.> I’m not sure, but I think we can infer from what he’s said that there exist individuals that he doesn’t want present in his “new world.”
A.> People like you.
A.> He’s trying to weed you all out.
>So he is our enemy after all.
A.> It’s pretty clear at this point, I’d say.
A.> Though nothing is completely certain.
A.> Still
A.> Be on guard.
>What should we do about today, though?
A.> I hate to say it, but I don’t think we’re going to be able to get very far even if we spend the day trying to track the guy down.
A.> We might not be able to find him in time.
>So are you giving up?
A.> No.
A.> I’ll just have Meira scan the city as best as she can when it happens.
A.> We might have just enough time to locate him before he’s attacked.

Hm, maybe I should just do that, too. Searching for him turned out to be pretty fruitless, and I don’t think I’ll be any more successful without any further leads. No calls have come in from those police officers, and Senpai’s cell is still turned off (did he forget to turn it back on or what, goddamn it.) I suppose we might not really have any other choice if a miracle doesn’t happen and we find out where this Kurosawa guy is.

A.> Anyway, thanks for the info.
A.> Terminating program.

Letting out a sigh as I stand up from the chair and turn the monitor off, I lift my arms above my head and give them a stretch, reaching toward the ceiling with the tips of my fingers. Lunchtime’s already passed by now, and I’m not sure what to do. The attack’s at 23:00 today, so there’s still plenty of time to get ready for that. I’m just not sure how I should be readying myself.

…I guess I’ll go grab something to drink.

---

“Say, isn’t today the day?” Elly asks in a gloating voice as soon as she sees me, smirking deviously. “…And you still haven’t found that human, have you?”

“No,” I say, just walking past her. “…Shouldn’t you be at work already?”

“I get today and the day after tomorrow off,” she says, snorting.

“Good for you.”

Reaching into the fridge for a bottle of water, I slowly uncap it, taking a nice long drink from the mouth of the bottle. Lowering the bottle, I turn my gaze to Elly before opening my mouth to speak again.

“…So how are things over there?” I ask.

“Eh?” she blinks, taken by surprise by my question. It takes her a moment to understand what I’m talking about. “Er… well, okay, I guess. It’s gotten a bit better, since I’m starting to get used to it and all, an—“

She painfully bites her tongue, scrunching up her expression as she stops herself from speaking.

“I mean—it’s terrible! Damn brats just get on my nerves way too much,” she says in a venomous tone of voice. “…So, do you have any plan for what you’re going to do today?”

Way to change the subject there.

“Not really,” I say, heaving a sigh. “…I don’t really know if there’s anything I can do except just wait around. I just can’t find him at all.”

“Sucks for you,” Elly says, shrugging her shoulders.

Yeah yeah, whatever.

…Actually, this brings to mind a question I’ve wanted to ask her for a while.

“…Hey Elly.”

“What?’

“What is Yuuka to you, anyway?”

“Well, that should be obvious—!”

“No, no, that’s not what I meant. I worded that wrong, sorry,” I quickly cut her off. That’s not really the part I’m interested in. “…How is it that a youkai like you ended up working for another youkai, like her? Is there some kind of a story behind that?”

Elly just blinks, staring at me like I’m some kind of a madman. “What the hell? I serve her because I respect her. Do I need a reason other than that?”

“Er, well, you’re a youkai, though, right?” I say, frowning. “I mean… I didn’t think youkai could feel something like—I mean, the way you talk, it always seems like the only thing on your mind is killing and all… so…”

“Shut up,” she growls, narrowing her eyes and giving me a sharp glare before stomping off out of the kitchen, muttering under her breath.

…Did I say something wrong? I mean, she even said that her solution to everything was to kill something, didn’t she? Maybe I touched some kind of nerve there? Bah, trying to talk to her is like trying to walk through a minefield.

Let’s see… Yuuka’s still sleeping in her room. Elly just went off somewhere else and I don’t think I should really approach her. Kurumi’s watching TV with Ellen in the living room. Kana is presumably resting, since I don’t see her around much during daytime. Kotohime is… doing something somewhere, I don’t know.

As for me, I’m not sure what I should do, or what I can do.

(You may choose three)

[ ] Work.
[ ] Go get some fresh air for a bit.
[ ] Go watch TV.
[ ] Try to reconcile with Elly.
[ ] Check up on Kotohime.
>> No. 28337
[x] Try to reconcile with Elly.
[x] Work.
[x] Go get some fresh air for a bit.

>From somewhere below, I hear a heavy door swinging shut.

Dammit Yuuka. Finally get a semi-NEET to agree to do something and then leave.
>> No. 28338
[x] Work.
[x] Go get some fresh air for a bit.
[x] Work

Eh, I don't think Elly will want to talk to us so soon. We'll remember to apologize later. But for now... Work with all your might! We're trying to be determined, right? What better determination is there than money?

With Elly being the only other worker and his parents refusing him money, I think putting it off for too long is a bad thing. Asking senpai for cash is also pitiful.
>> No. 28342
[X] Check up on Kotohime.
[x] Go get some fresh air for a bit.
[x] Work

Let's see how ditzy sister no.2 is doing.
>> No. 28343
[x] Try to reconcile with Elly.
[x] Work.
[x] Go get some fresh air for a bit.
>> No. 28344
[x] Try to reconcile with Elly.
[x] Work.
[x] Go get some fresh air for a bit.
>> No. 28345
[X] Check up on Kotohime.
[x] Go get some fresh air for a bit.
[x] Work
>> No. 28347
[X] Check up on Kotohime.
[x] Go get some fresh air for a bit.
[x] Work

We need a paycheck to sustain ourselves.
>> No. 28348
>>28337
Heh, I think it was brilliant. Getting him to do something was the important thing. The speech itself wasn't important: it could have been anything else; what matters is that he is finally changing is outlook in life. He's trying to learn to live and not to survive.
We have that murderer to thank too; if it weren't for him, he wouldn't have started to go out so often: he gave him a purpose.
Anyway, I digress. This is a Shin Megami Tensei way of thinking and it probably doesn't relate to this story at all.

[x] Work.
[x] Go get some fresh air for a bit.
[x] Try to reconcile with Elly.
>> No. 28350
[X] Check up on Kotohime.
[X] Go get some fresh air for a bit.
[X] Work
>> No. 28365
>From somewhere below, I hear a heavy door swinging shut.
It would have been hilarious if right after that he screamed "bitch" at the top of his lungs from the roof-top.
>> No. 28367
Gonna need a tie-breaker between [] Check up on Kotohime and [x] Try to reconcile with Elly.
>> No. 28368
[x] Try to reconcile with Elly.
[x] Work.
[x] Go get some fresh air for a bit.
>> No. 28369
>>28368
inb4 total failure.
>> No. 28370
>>28369
Fuck, beat me to it.
>> No. 28371
File 127727621298.png - (150.29KB , 392x472 , 7741652.png ) [iqdb]
28371
…Well, I suppose those utilities bills aren’t going to be paying themselves. I’ve been pushing back work for far too long now, and it’s about time that I get that stuff halfway done, at the least. Letting out a sigh, I decide to put off on trying to reconcile with Elly until a bit later. She probably doesn’t want to talk to me right now, and since I don’t even know why she snapped at me, I’m just bound to make things worse if I pursue the subject while she’s still fuming.

Turning to the fridge again, I pry the door open and shove the water bottle back in. After shutting the door again, I walk on out of the kitchen, heading to my room. Closing its door behind me as I step inside, I sink down in my chair, facing the computer again. Turning the monitor on, I squeeze my hands together, massaging my fingers.

Right, let’s get crackin’.



After several boring hours of this, I’m just about at the end of my patience. The workload’s a lot bigger than I originally estimated it to be, and I sure as hell ain’t going to be able to finish it all in just a single day. Sort of reminds me of those summer nights when I’d pull an all-nighter to finish up those vacation projects while I was still in school, only this is a lot bigger than those ever were.

Still, I’ve managed to get about half done so far, and the deadline isn’t for another week or so. I’ve made good progress for today, and if I really put my mind to it, I could probably finish up in a couple of days as long as I put in a few hours each day.

Well, this is really just me trying to justify calling it for the day, but whatever, I need a break anyway.

I can’t smoke in the house because Yuuka and Elly complain about the smell, even when I do so in my own room with the window open (guess their sense of scent must be pretty sharp, being youkai and all), so I need to head outside to light a cig, so I might as well get a breath of fresh air while I’m at it.

Outside of my home, after having slammed the front door shut, I stand outside as I fish out a stick of cigarette from a nearly empty carton. Lighting the end of it with my lighter, I take a drag on it, my elbows resting on the metal railing in front of me. As I smoke the cigarette, I look on below me, watching the people passing by in the streets.

I suppose it would seem weird for so many different women to enter and exit out of one home, wouldn’t it? I’m not surprised that the police heard about it, now that I think about it. I guess it really was one of the neighbors, or maybe even a passerby, who reported the situation to the police.

What surprises me more is that someone actually bothered to do it. I mean, apathy is pretty commonplace in Japan. It’s a nation where people stare but never say anything. It’s why so many train molesters get away unpunished: People notice it, but they don’t do anything. They don’t want to get involved. ‘It’s not my problem,’ or ‘it’s not my responsibility.’ They make excuses. They close themselves off from other people’s worlds, and remain secure in their own.

…Heh, though it’s not like I should be talking. Just a couple of days ago, I considered not getting involved any further in the angel’s game. Because I didn’t want to get involved any more than I already was, I wanted to let a stranger die. ‘It’s not my problem,’ I told myself. ‘It’s not my responsibility. What happens to a stranger is not my concern.’

I wonder if I still think that way now. Elly questioned me why I wanted to risk my neck to save someone I don’t know. Is it really because I wanted to help him, or did I just feel obligated to do so because Meira and that hacker had saved my life? It might even be because I’m curious as to what, exactly, the angel is planning.

…I guess I’ll find out tonight.

Snapping out of my train of thought, I shake off the ash at the end of the cigarette I’m holding. Looking down at the street again, I see something unusual. There’s… something weird going on in the middle of the sidewalk there. Squinting, I take a careful look at that spot that strikes me as strange… it’s almost like the air around that particular spot is… rippling.

A girl suddenly emerges from that ripple.

I nearly drop my cigarette in shock. She… literally just appeared out of thin air. Worse yet, it doesn’t seem like anybody else noticed that! No one reacted when she appeared, and even now, it’s like they don’t even see her, just walking past her without notice. There’s apathy, and then there’s just plain ignorance!

From this far away, it’s pretty hard to make out her details, but from what I can see from here, she has short, silver hair. Comparing her height to the other passerby, I’d say she’s fairly short. Almost like a kid, actually. Maybe… twelve-to-fourteen by estimation?

She also seems to be looking around for something, turning her head one way, and then another. Finally, after a few seconds, she raises a hand, and the space around her gives off that ripple again, which she steps into, vanishing out of sight. Who was that kid? Didn’t seem like very good news. I should watch out for her, because if she’s involved with that angel, and she was looking for me, then, well, that might mean trouble.



Once I head back inside, I figure it’s probably been long enough to try to talk to Elly again. I don’t want her to blow up at me like always, so this time, I should be careful about choosing my words. Not that I’m going to bow down and kiss her feet or anything; she detests weakness, so I have to be able to stand my ground even if she gets a little aggressive, but I shouldn’t get carried away like I did before, either. That really came to bite me in the ass later.

…And to my luck, it seems she’s in the kitchen again. Tossing off the shoes I put on, I head for the kitchen, hearing a tab open. Damn it, she’s nicked one of my cans again, hasn’t she? Just as I step inside, I see her taking a sip from an open can of beer. As she lowers it from her lips, I step forward and snatch it out of her grip.

“Hey hey, no drinking before a fight,” I chide her.

“Wha th-!?” she exclaims in shock. “Hey, what’s your problem!?”

Frowning, I say, “Hey, it’ll be dangerous if you’re drunk later on today, right? I mean, last time, you got buzzed after just half a can. I’m just looking out for you here.”

“I don’t need you worrying about me,” she says, scowling. “So give that back.”

“After I have a sip,” I say, doing just that.

“H-hey, I drank from there!” she shouts in protest, her cheeks flushing slightly.

“You care about that? Oh please,” I say, rolling my eyes as I return the can to her. “We’re all living together here. Chances are we’ve all been sharing a lot more than saliva without knowing it, anyway.”

“Ugh, yuck!” she says, sticking out her tongue in disgust.

She takes a sip from the can anyway, leaning back on the kitchen counter. I do the same, resting my hands on the countertop behind my as I look up at the ceiling, counting the dots. Suddenly, I hear a giggle beside me, and it soon proves to be infectious, and I end up breaking out in a chuckle as well. Feeling a jab at my side, I see Elly offering the can back to me, and I take it from her.

“By the way,” I say in an easygoing voice. “You know I’m the one who buys these, right? I’d really like it if you’d stop stealing them. You have a job now, so you can pay for them yourself, can’t you.”

“Oh stuff it, you cheapskate,” she says, mildly irritated. “I don’t get payed ‘til next week. Work sucks.”

“Bi-weekly wage, huh?”

“I don’t know how you humans manage to do this for years,” she says in a dreary voice, taking the can from me as I pass it along to her. Pausing briefly to drink from it, she continues, “I’m sick of it and it’s only been a few days.”

“You’ll ease into it after a while, probably.”

Though I don’t speak from experience there…

“…Hey, you know…” I awkwardly begin. We’ve been talking amiably enough until now, so it might be enough that I don’t mention it, but I still feel that I should. “Sorry about what I said earlier. It seems to have offended you, and that wasn’t my intention.”

She doesn’t respond, staying quiet as she drains the last of the beverage from the can she holds. For a few silent seconds, she plays with the empty can in her hand, squeezing it a little and letting it expand. Finally, she sets the can behind her, on top of the counter, before opening her mouth to speak, staring straight ahead rather than at me.

“Yuuka was the one who saved me.”

“Huh?”

“She saved my life. That’s why I respect her. That’s why I follow her.”

Yuuka saved her life…? Are we thinking of the same Yuuka here?

I look over to Elly. She seems sullen, with her mouth turned into a frown and her gaze appearing distant and a bit uneasy. Her shoulders drooping a little, and even her hat sliding slightly off her head, she somehow looks incredibly vulnerable right now, like she’s just dredged up some bad memories.

[ ] Inquire further.
[ ] Leave it at that.
>> No. 28372
[x] Leave it at that.

I'd try to go into it, but with the MC's attitude, it'd make things worse. Better to get out while the mood's still nice.

Though I'm sure people will disagree.
>> No. 28374
[x] Do you... want to talk about it?

Might as well test the water before diving in.
>> No. 28375
[x] Do you... want to talk about it?
>> No. 28376
[x] Do you... want to talk about it?
>> No. 28377
[x] Do you... want to talk about it?
True.
>> No. 28378
[x] Leave it at that.
>> No. 28379
[x] Do you... want to talk about it?
>> No. 28380
[x] Do you... want to talk about it?

It might upset her, but we also may not get to discuss it if we don't press her.
>> No. 28381
[x] Do you... want to talk about it?
>> No. 28382
[x] Do you... want to talk about it?

If she does wanna talk about it, great! If she doesn't, well least she'll know we care enough to at least listen. Like the wording on this write in compared to the other choices since it seems it's not as pushing or uncaring.
>> No. 28383
[x] Do you... want to talk about it?
>> No. 28384
[x] Do you... want to talk about it?
>> No. 28385
[x] Do you... want to talk about it?

>she has short, silver hair. Comparing her height to the other passerby, I’d say she’s fairly short. Almost like a kid, actually. Maybe… twelve-to-fourteen by estimation?

Any ideas as to who this is? I'm out of them.

Also, character development is a-go!
>> No. 28386
>>28385
That's a mystery since the PC-98 Era wasn't big on sliver haired girls.
>> No. 28387
I'm thinking it's Youmu, despite her not being PC-98.
>> No. 28388
>>28387
Youki in girls clothes, because the mistress has obscure tastes.

Poor Youki.
>> No. 28389
[x] Do you... want to talk about it?
>> No. 28393
[x] Leave it at that.

Although this one is drastically outnumbered...

The most asking about it would cause is bringing up bad memories. probably not Yuuka rescuing her, but if anything the fact that she HAD to be rescued at all, which I doubt she'd like to consciously be reminded of.

Then again, maybe she'll appreciate that an interest is being taken to get to know her. -shrugs-
>> No. 28394
[X]Do you... Want to talk about it?

I want the protagonist to end up with Kana in the end, but I really want to break Elly's bitch armor as well.
>> No. 28395
>>28394
Yep I think we're still on the Kana route, just trying to calm Elly down so she isn't fanon-Sakuya bitchy.
>> No. 28397
>>28334
>“—sleeping can be a form of emotional escape and can with sustained effort be abused—”
I suddenly had a strange idea.

What if Yukari (who else, aside from Komachi, is famous for sleeping, after all?) was somehow traumatized, and for whatever reason, this caused her to reject the existence or whatever of all the PC-98ers? They would be cast out of Gensokyo (explaining why there are little or no PC-98 characters in the Windows games) and into the outside world.

And then Sariel gets it in his/her androgynous little head: "Fuck it, we'll set up camp right here!" Why, I'm not sure, but it's probably better than Makai or Hell.

This weird theory made a lot more sense in the initial version before Firefox froze and then gave my previous session the finger when I started it back up. Of course, it may be just as crackpot as the "The protagonist is actually Suwako" theory in The Game, but still.

Also of note: It seems significant that whatever purged the PC-98ers also kicked out grown-up, Windows-version Alice. Is this because she's still a PC-98er, or what?

I also had a strange theory about that it was anyone connected to Makai that got kicked out, and that the silver girl was Nazrin, but she wasn't from Makai, so that's out.

What do you all think? No matter whether I'm right or wrong, I'm pretty sure that quote in the opening post of the thread isn't there just for fun, so I'd like to hear what others have to say, too.
>> No. 28398
>>28397

I think the quote is more about Kana than anything else. Remember that she did have a little talk about dreams with the MC.
>> No. 28399
“Do you… uh, do you want to talk about it?” I ask, unsure. It’s important to keep myself tactful when speaking to a volatile person like her, and I’d rather not inquire about something she might want to keep to herself. At least this way, it won’t seem like I was just tuning what she was saying out or anything like that.

She squirms uncomfortably a little, her gaze wavering slightly. In a hesitant, uncertain voice, she replies, “Uh… not really, I guess. I mean, it’s not really something I talk about a lot… yeah, it’s probably best not to bring it up now.”

“Oh. Well, sorry for bringing it up, then.”

“N-no, that’s fine,” she says, slightly shaken, waving her hand dismissively in front of her, as if trying to swat a bothersome fly whirling about her head. “Aaaaanyway. You go, uh, go plan stuff or something, because I’d rather not end up getting a good chunk of me clawed out again.”

Her cheeks still flushed, she hurries out of the kitchen, avoiding my gaze. Probably, she’s embarrassed at having shown a moment of weakness. Even though I didn’t mean to bring up bad memories or anything, it still leaves a slightly bitter taste in my mouth to see her leave like that. Maybe I shouldn’t have brought that whole mess back up. We seemed to be getting along pretty okay before that.

Ah well, no use crying over spilt milk, right? I’m sure she’ll forget about it by the time we’re ready to go, anyway.

…Now then, there’s still some time before the attack, so I need to prepare myself for it. Shit is going down and such. That said, I can’t really think of what we might be able to do aside from just roam around when we’re transported into the so-called “Closed Boundary” and hope to find the guy in time. Actually, that might be our best bet. Even that supposed genius hacker couldn’t find any other way, right?

So… oh well. If it comes down to that, then that’s what we’ll do.

---

…And as of now, thirty minutes away from the arranged time of death, that seems to be the only viable option at the moment.

No sudden phone calls from the police informing me of the identity of this Kurosawa. No message from A. telling me that she managed to miraculously track him down in what short little time passed between our last correspondences. No call from Senpai, either, telling me that he finally met up with the guy and that if I have business with him, I should meet him at so-and-so location.

We’ve got nothing to go on, basically.

“…Are we seriously going to comb this city?” Elly asks in a dull, unamused voice. “Forget it. Have you seen how huge it is? It’d take forever just to cover half of it! Count me out.”

Yuuka stifles a yawn with her hand, using the back of it to rub away the tears that form at her eyes. Folding her arms together, she grumbles annoyedly, “Why does it have to take place so late at night? I’m sleepy…”

“Don’t fall asleep,” I say.

“Of course I won’t,” she snaps.

“So are we all going out?” Kurumi pipes up, sitting on the floor with her wings folded in. “…Where’s that fluffy-head girl?”

“Fluffy went to bed already,” Elly answers. “…So I guess she won’t be with us.”

Kurumi’s head turns to me. “What about you?”

“Eh? Me…?” I jump back, startled. Actually… that’s a good question. Am I going with them? I mean, if I do, I’ll only end up as a liability, right? It doesn’t feel right to sit at home while these girls are outside fighting other monsters, though… “W-well, I guess so?”

“You can’t fly, though,” Elly’s quick to remark.

Ugh, that’s right. And I doubt any of them would like to carry me around, either. That would just be uncomfortable and embarrassing for both parties involved, unless… hold on a minute. Flying. I’ve already had an experience with that, haven’t I?

“That won’t be a problem if Kotohime comes with us,” I say.

After all, that dive off that building followed by the ride on that flying cloud was one of the more unforgettable moments of my life.

“Is she even any good in a fight?” Elly asks doubtfully.

“I dunno, but it’ll be fine if we just stay out of the way, right?”

“What about Miss Maid?” Kurumi pipes up again, looking to the maid busy handing out teacups to everyone present. “Are you coming with us, too?”

“Fighting monsters sounds like fun,” she says with a cheery smile and equally energetic voice. “…but I’ll stay here. There’s quite a bit of work to do, with this many people around, after all.”

Did I imagine it, or was there a hard edge to the last part of what she just said?

“I guess it’s us five, then,” I say, shrugging. “So… uh, when should we get going? I mean, we don’t really have a lot of time, and the sooner we start, the better, ri-”

Just as I’m finishing my sentence, I’m overtaken by a sudden wave of queasiness. It’s that all-too-familiar sensation of detachment, like I’m suddenly, violently, being jerked away from where I’m standing to a place that feels alien and hostile. That same feeling of wrongness that I always feel when the transition is made, dazing the hell out of me and draining the strength from my legs like someone’s just extracting it out of a hole in my skin, nearly making me lose my balance and fall to my knees.

“…Did you feel that?” Elly’s voice comes in a weak, disoriented tone. “That was it, wasn’t it?”

“Ugh, that felt weird,” Kurumi whines, clutching her head and massaging her temples with her fingers. “Is it always like this?”

“More or less,” Yuuka replies with a wince.

“Then isn’t it already too late?” Elly says somewhat doubtfully. “I mean, there’s no way we’re going to be able to find that guy before he gets killed off, right? There’s no time.”

“That might not necessarily be true,” the woman replies thoughtfully. “Time is stopped at the moment, after all. There’s a chance that the enemy is also unaware of the victim’s location, isn’t there? It might take them just as long as us to find him.”

“But either way, we should hurry, huh?” Kurumi says, nodding.

“Let’s just get this over with,” Elly says with a heavy sigh. Casually, and in no hurry, she casts her gaze my way. “…Hey, did you hear that? Are you even listening? Hello?”

Ah.

What the hell is this?

I can feel that same, familiar wrongness in the air that I sense every time we end up in this Closed Boundary or whatever that angel calls it, but… there’s something different about what I’m feeling right now. It’s not the same. It’s completely new to me, and at the same time, it’s very familiar. I feel like I can recognize this feeling. Is it… fear? It feels like fear, and at the same time, it’s not the same feeling of fear that I know. Could it be…?

Is this someone else’s fear?

From somewhere distant, this feeling calls out to me. Pounding and pulsating, a steady flow reaching me as though that “feeling” itself is a human heart, pumping blood through veins to send it to me. I can feel someone else’s “fear”, his “desperation”.

Is this… Kurosawa Takeshi? Does this “fear” belong to him?

“Hey, what’s up?”

Brought down to reality by the sound of Elly’s voice, I turn my head to blankly stare at her just in time to see her reach a hand out to my shoulder to give my body a shake.

The moment her flesh makes contact with my body, a new feeling flows into me.

Suddenly, I feel “confused” and “puzzled”.

That is, Elly’s current state of emotion.

And still, more emotions continue to flow in.

“Rage”, “Frustration”, “Inferiority”, and “Hatred”.

All of those emotions flow into my mind, and I find myself growing hot with anger. At the same time, I hear a familiar voice echoing inside my head.

”I’ll kill her… I’ll kill her I’ll kill her I’ll kill her I’ll kill her! I’ll kill her!”

Stumbling back, I lash out and swat her hand off of my shoulder. I can feel cold sweat dripping down my face, as I stare into the startled eyes of the girl standing in front of me. What the hell was that? Was that… her feelings? No, it wasn’t her feelings of the present. What was it?

No, for that matter, why is it that I can feel these things in the first place?

Am I just tripping out?

“H-hey, what the hell’s your problem!?” Elly shouts, though she’s still more shocked than angry in her tone.

“S-sorry, I wasn’t myself there,” I quickly mumble out, pressing my fingers to my forehead as I lower my chin, staring at the floor. Okay, let’s not ask the “whys” right now, because I doubt anyone’s got an answer to them. Rather, I can make use of this newfound… whatever it is that I have now. “…Hey, I can sense him.”

Yuuka raises an eyebrow. “Sense?”

“I don’t know how to explain it, but…” I begin, frowning as I struggle to keep speaking. “I can feel something, and I can tell from where it’s coming from. I think that may be what we’re looking for here.”

Kurumi’s eyes widen in surprise. “But how? Aren’t you just a huma-”

“Let’s go,” Yuuka quickly cuts her off, lifting up her parasol from where it was leaning against the wall, placing it over her shoulder and beginning to walk toward the front door. “We have litertally no time to waste.”

I nod.

------

A few minutes later, and we’re all standing on top of the rooftop of our home. Elly just basically dragged Kotohime outside without really explaining to her what was going on, but that’s probably just fine, considering that even if we did fill her in she still wouldn’t really get it. But… speaking of her… even though I can get a vague reading of everyone else’s current mood—Kurumi is “excited”, Elly is “anxious”, and Yuuka is “calm”—I can’t read hers at all. It feels like… garbled junk. Her feelings are… completely unrecognizable. It’s almost impressive how alien her thoughts feel.

“So we’re like heroes of justice?” Kotohime asks eagerly, her smile bright with enthusiasm. “Going around saving people and all sounds so cool!”

“Something like that,” I say with a grim smile.

“Hero of justice, huh?” Elly says mockingly, snickering.

“Let’s go then,” Yuuka says.

She steps onto the edge of the rooftop and gracefully lifts herself up into the air. Elly pulls out her scythe, the handle snugly wrapping around her waist as always, and takes off after her. Kurumi spreads her large wings and takes flight, the flapping of her wings leaving behind gusts that I have to shield my eyes from.

“Let’s do our best!” Kotohime says to me cheerfully, pumping her arms.

She points her palms to the floor, and with a poof, a fluffy white cloud appears beneath her feet, instantly lifting her off the roof. The small cloud at her feet slowly expands to larger size as she kneels down on it, folding her hands on top of her lap in lady-like fashion. The cloud is slightly longer than it is wide, so that there’s room for me at the back. Gripping a clump of the fluff, which feels like cotton in my grip, I climb onto the cloud.

“Hold on tightly,” Kotohime warns me.

“Yeah,” I say, seating myself behind her and taking hold of the particularly fluffier bits of the cloud at my sides. I don’t want to accidentally get thrown off mid-flight, after all.

“Well then, we’re going~!”

The cloud lifts up, up, and up until it’s level with the other girls already high up in the air. And then, at an unexpectedly swift speed, the cloud zooms toward them. Recovering from the mild shock, I put on a determined face and point a finger in the direction I can feel that “fear” and “anxiety” coming from.

“That way!”

---

“Geeze, it feels so weird to see a huge place like this without people!” Elly remarks off-handedly while looking down at the empty shopping district we’re flying over.

She’s right. Normally, places like this in the city are packed with people, so it’s all the more jarring to not see a single soul in the streets. It’s even creepier that all those cars below us are completely empty and immobile, like they’ve all been abandoned by their owners. It feels like we’ve entered a world that’s already died or something like that.

…!?

“Hold on!” I say, my eyes widening. “I feel something! Something else just entered this world!”

“Is it the enemy?” Yuuka asks, slowing down so that she’s just keeping up with Kotohime and me. “Has it arrived?”

“…I don’t know,” I say, concentrating. What feeling is this? Is it just “neutral”? But, if it was looking for Kurosawa, then why is it… “H-hey, it’s heading straight for us!”

It’s changed to “delight”.

“Good evening.”

---
>> No. 28400
File 127768546090.jpg - (968.32KB , 800x988 , 10389343.jpg ) [iqdb]
28400
A woman in a maid costume suddenly appears in the air in front of us without so much as a warning, prompting everyone to immediately halt their advance and float still in the air. Carrying a polite smile with her, the maid who spontaneously made an appearance leans forward in a very graceful bow. Wait a minute, I’ve seen her before. Isn’t that…?

“Mugetsu?”

No, wait, her real name was Mutsuki, wasn’t it…?

“That’s right,” she says with a curtsy and a smile.

“Looks like there’re quite a few people around this time.”

A second voice sounds out in the eerie, echoing silence, similar to Mutsuki’s but a little harsher and a bit more snobbish in tone. That must be…

The owner of that voice appears next to the maid, her appearance at first distorted and warped before expanding out like haze to a normally perceivable form. She possesses the same face as the girl floating at her side, the only real difference being their outfits. Rather than a maid outfit, this second girl wears a long, pinkish-red dress, with an unsually large bow adorning the back of her head. A pair of white, fluffy feathered wings sprout out from her back, though they don’t seem functional, seeing as she’s already floating without flapping them. That’s… Mikazuki, isn’t it? What’s with that outfit? I thought her sister was the one supposed to be into cosplay…

…No, more importantly, why are they here? Why are they flying like us? Weren’t they just normal people…? Are they castaways, like the rest of the girls here?

“Since there are so many people around here, why don’t we play a game?” Mikazuki says, her eyes narrowing.

“Ah, you mean like tag or hide-and-seek, sister?” Mutsuki asks with an unsettling grin, turning to her elder twin sister.

“No no no, not childish games like that,” Mikazuki replies, wagging one finger. “Isn’t there a game that suits the two of us better? A game that we demons play best…”

“Ah, I think I know what you mean,” Mutsuki says, before turning her gaze to us.

“What do you all want?” Elly asks, looking at the pair with suspicion.

“We told you already. We want to play a game,” the elder twin replies, sweeping a lock of hair out of her eyes. “…Hey, let’s not keep them waiting, Mugetsu.”

“How right you are, sister,” the maid says, slowly raising her hand so that her palm is facing us. “Let’s play…”

…! I can feel it… their “killing intent”!

“…human hunting!”

Bright light surrounds her palm, and in the next moment, a speeding blue orb of light suddenly rushes straight toward me and Kotohime, fast enough that it feels like it can reach us within the blink of an eye. Alarmed, I raise up my arm in futile defense, shutting my eyes. I hear the loud, cracking sound of impact… but I don’t feel anything.

Slowly, lowering my arm, I open my eyes. Yuuka is there, in front of me. Her open parasol is pointed forward, smoke billowing out from its surface. She… blocked that blast with just that thing? What the hell? Wait, what’s even going on here? Why are those two attacking us…!? Demons? Human hunting? What?

“Uwaah~” Kotohime breathes a sigh of relief. “That was scary…”

“You all,” Yuuka says coldly, not looking back to the rest of us as she lowers her parasol, edging closer toward the smirking twins. “Get out of here.”

Huh? Does she want to fight them on her own…?

“Okay.”

“Got it.”

No arguments from Kurumi or Elly. Man, are they serious…? I mean, I know Yuuka must be pretty strong and all, considering that those two seem right terrified of her, but even so, a two-on-one is pretty… well, I’m sure they can estimate her chances better than I can, so I shouldn’t worry about that right now.

“…Alright, be careful,” I say to her, though she doesn’t deign to answer me as she stares down the sisters. Tapping Kotohime by the shoulder to grab her attention away from the scene in front of her, I point in the direction that I can feel that “fear” from. “Go that way. Hurry and get us out of here.”

“R-roger!” Kotohime says, saluting even as the cloud beneath us begins to move in the direction I’m pointing to.

But before we can zoom out of the area, Mikazuki appears in front of us, in the same way that she did when she first showed herself, just sort of warping before us. Staring dead straight at us, she grins viciously. “Trying to get away!?”

I wince as she draws back a glowing hand, ready to hurl whatever it is she’s winding up for at us. Before she has the chance, though, Yuuka swoops in from behind. Drawing a gasp of surprised from the winged “demon” as she realizes what’s coming, Yuuka cracks the girl across the face with her forearm, sending her flying into a nearby building with a crash.

“Hurry up,” Yuuka says in an annoyed voice, turning back to us.

A bit shaken, I nod, and without any pursuers this time, we’re able to get the hell out of there. As we fly away, I hear various sounds of destruction echoing across the empty city. Looking back, I see one of the buildings just completely crumbling down to the vacant street below it. Yikes, that’s gotta be one hell of a fight that’s going on back there…

“So! Where is he!?” Elly cups a hand around her mouth to yell toward me.

“Below us!” I yell back. “Kotohime, land us here.”

She does so without a word, the cloud supporting us from beneath descending to the ground at a comfortable speed. Standing up from it, I hop down onto the concrete, feeling both relieved to be back on the ground and disappointed that I’m not flying anymore. Elly and Kurumi follow suit not long after, touching down closeby. Let’s see… this pulsation is coming from…

“A little lower…” I muse to myself. “…It’s coming from the subway.”

“…Subway?” Elly repeats, confused. “The hell is that?”

“Underground train. Anyway, we need to hurry.”

I lead the other girls as I hurry off in a jog toward the staircase leading down into the subway station. Though I can sense that Elly and Kurumi are a little “puzzled”, they follow along without a word, realizing the gravity of the current situation. My footsteps echoing as I hurry toward the presence I can feel, my heart begins to race. I don’t feel anything else other than what we’ve already seen… are we going to make it in time? I think we are!

Turning a corner, I immediately spot a man standing alone. He’s a tall skeleton of a man, with long, unkempt hair. The clothes he’s wearing are baggy and worn out, and look even worse on account of his thin frame. There’s no mistaking it. The “fear” I feel is coming from this man.

“Kurosawa Takeshi!” I yell out.

He jerks himself around, facing us. His “fear” turns into “surprise”, and his eyes show it, widening from shock when he sees us all running toward him. Immediately, one hand drifts to his pocket.

And his “surprise” turns once again into “fear”.

There’s a pistol in his hand now.

He points it at us with shaking hands… and pulls the trigger.

Bang.

“Kya-!?”

Caught mid-run, Kurumi’s head jerks back violently, and at once, she drops to the floor, unmoving. The gunman slowly backs away, his panicked eyes staring at the girl’s body lying on the floor, a pool of blood starting to form around her head. Even so, he keeps the gun pointed in our direction.

…No way. Is she…?

“…ooooow,” a low moan escapes Kurumi’s mouth. Slowly, she sits up, her white shirt stained with her own blood. Pressing one hand to her bleeding forehead, she casts a sharp glare at the man who shot her. “That hurt.”

I worried for nothing.

“Y-you all…” the man mumbles out in a low, almost sobbing voice. “You’re all… here to kill me… all of you…d-d-d-demons. W-w-w-w-well, I won’t let you k-kill me. I’ll… I’ll kill all of you…!”

…So that’s how it is.

“I already hate this guy,” Elly spits out, disgusted. “Can we just let this one die?”

“I don’t like him either,” Kurumi says bitterly.

…what I want to know is how he got a gun. He doesn’t look like a LEO or like he’s with the JSDF, judging by his sloppy way of dressing himself. Plus, if he was with the law or the military, we were bound to have found something on him. So, he’s got to be just a nobody… so how did he get a gun in a country where civilian use of guns is all but banned? Did he… steal it from a cop or something?

“Maybe you should try talking to him?” Kotohime says, looking to me. “Talking can do a lot of things.”

I’d rather we get the gun away from him first, though…

[ ] Try to talk him into calming down.
[ ] Try to talk Elly and Kurumi into rushing and subduing him.
[ ] Leave him to his fate.
>> No. 28401
Hard choice... since either could do... it's all a matter of thinking what would work best...
>> No. 28402
[X] Try to talk him into calming down.

I would normally favor just having the girls subdue him, but we have an interesting advantage here in the form of our newfound empathic abilities. If we can sense the his emotional state, we should be able to steer the conversation more easily, and use it to our advantage in calming him down.
>> No. 28403
[x] Try to talk him into calming down.
[x] "How did you get your hands on a gun?"

I know I would pause a second if a demon coming to kill me asked that. It's not the sort of thing you'd expect. loliunno
>> No. 28404
[x] Try to talk Elly and Kurumi into rushing and subduing him.
The man is paranoid and on the edge right now. He won't listen to reason or words right now.
>I’d rather we get the gun away from him first, though…
Says it all. The choice is not a beat him up or kill him. Just get the gun away and restrain him so that you can talk to him.
>> No. 28405
[X] Try to talk him into calming down.
>> No. 28411
[x] Try to talk Elly and Kurumi into rushing and subduing him
>> No. 28414
[x] Try to talk him into calming down.
>> No. 28417
[X] Try to talk him into calming down.

Sudden level gains in Empath.
>> No. 28420
[x] Try to talk him into calming down.

Chill. Chill. We're here to help.
>> No. 28424
[x] Try to talk him into calming down.

Let's make use of one of humanity's greatest powers, the power of speech.
>> No. 28425
[X] Try to talk him into calming down.
>> No. 28426
File 127772990473.jpg - (1.43MB , 1920x1200 , 29e3aa1f36e664ed411ff24b36693a80.jpg ) [iqdb]
28426
I'd normally agree with >>28402 but this isn't the time nor the place for experiments.
[x] Try to talk Elly and Kurumi into rushing and subduing him.
They're inmune to bullets so...

Speaking of which, I wonder if there's a treator among us...
>—I can’t read hers at all. It feels like… garbled junk. Her feelings are… completely unrecognizable. It’s almost impressive how alien her thoughts feel.
Suspicious. Maybe she's just Meiling-impulsive but I don't think so.
>“Fighting monsters sounds like fun,” she says with a cheery smile and equally energetic voice. “…but I’ll stay here. There’s quite a bit of work to do, with this many people around, after all.” Did I imagine it, or was there a hard edge to the last part of what she just said?
More suspicious. Jealousy seems to be the reason, but I'm not so sure anymore. I hope not because if we have to choose between the world and her...
Maybe I'm thinking about this too much?
>> No. 28429
>>28426
Oh no, not this. Semi-serious story, yes. Mugetsu and Gengetsu were surprises, but the people in our own home? Let's not turn this into a despair-fest, shall we? Pointing fingers will just ruin any fun this story has.

I tied no conspiracy to what she said. Didn't think about it, but even now, my first impression is still the same. Kana was just pissed off that we keep bringing more girls home. Maybe it was just increasing her work-load, maybe it was jealousy because we spend so much time around them when we were having such close moments with her. She's shown this level of annoyance with the other girls in the past, many, many times before. For someone who spends a lot of time around us, who can go through walls and pick up solid objects - if she were one of the bad guys (at least one who did her job), we'd be fucked by now.

As for Kotohime, well, she's just crazy. She sleeps in goddamn cupboards and drawers for fucks sake. We see colors and shit when we touch her. Even Ellen can barely keep up during their conversations. She made two grown men - officers at that - cry like little girls.

Let's also not forget, the killings so far have been carried out by inhuman monsters, leaving the bodies of the victims in shreds, and this only happens during dimension crossing. Yuka was ready to kill us if we didn't accept her into our home, Elly was ready to kill us for no real reason, and Kurumi was ready to kill us to sate her hunger.

Because we have so much to worry about, I can say with the utmost confidence, WE HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT.
>> No. 28430
Yeah Kana was just getting pissing at all the other girls hogging his attention. Maybe once this is over we can spend some quality time with her.
>> No. 28435
...I hope Sempai's alright
>> No. 28437
[x] Try to talk Elly and Kurumi into rushing and subduing him.

Fear and paranoia turns people deaf
>> No. 28438
[X]Try to talk him into calming down.

>>28430

Namely, by seeing if she still wants to go to a beach somewhere. She was pretty much robbed of the chance while she was alive, so personally I want to see that she gets a good memory out of it. ...And in all honesty, the idea Kana in a swimsuit while frolicking in the water sounds hot.

Yeah, I'm certainly transparent about what I want.
>> No. 28439
[x]Try to talk him into calming down.
[x]Mention that we've been getting messages like (we presume) he got.
>> No. 28440
>>28438
Great, now I'm thinking of that Oh! My Goddess episode where he takes the ghost on a motorcycle ride around the lake, and she disappears, as ghosts like to do when their regrets are fulfilled.

>Yeah, I'm certainly transparent about what I want.
Don't worry, we all are.
>> No. 28442
>>28440
Nah, she's a poltergeist, not a normal ghost. ANd she was made by that girl, not being a ghost OF that girl. But it'd be natural if Kana had an interest in the beach.
>> No. 28443
[x] Try to talk Elly and Kurumi into rushing and subduing him.

I'm sure that trying to talk with someone that just shot one of our friends will work out. Especially since she got back up in front of him.
>> No. 28444
“H-hold on,” I say, spreading one arm to the side to gesture the girls to get back.

Any sudden movements on our part and he might just fire off another shot, and right now, that barrel is pointed at me, and I sure as hell don’t have the constitution to be shrugging off a bullet like Kurumi did just now. He’s scared and paranoid. That much, I can understand even without this new power I have. So, I just need to settle him down; prove to him that we aren’t a threat to his life.

Not daring to take a step forward to him lest it set him off, I hold up my hands, keeping my expression as calm as I can manage as I open my mouth to speak in what I hope to be a relaxed, soothing tone of voice, “Whoa, relax. We’re not here to kill you.”

The “fear” remains strong in the man. It hasn’t lessened his anxiety at all, and he sure as hell isn’t lowering the gun or loosening his finger’s grip on the trigger. Still, he’s not alarmed enough to start pulling the trigger again, so it’s okay, right? I better hurry it up, though, because there’s no telling when that monster is going to arrive and kill him.

“Look, I’m unarmed,” I say, keeping my hands up in front of me to assert my harmlessness. “I’m just a normal guy like you, not a demon. Just an ordinary human.”

I see his eyes dart to one side for a moment, and I follow his gaze to see Kurumi, who’s still bleeding from her previous wound, glaring sharply at the gunman.

Quickly, I say, “They’re my friends. They’re here to help. They’re not going to hurt you, or kill you, or anything like that, I swear.”

“He shot me!” Kurumi protests in an outraged tone, taking in a sharp breath.

Annoyed, I shoot a sharp glance at the vampire, who isn’t exactly willing to hide her still seething anger, though she does have the sense to quiet herself down, not saying anything else. Turning back to the man, I note that his “fear” seems to have weakened a little, leaving a small room in his mind for a little “confusion” to occupy.

“Who… who are you guys?” he asks with a dazed expression, his shaking arms relaxing slightly, though he still keeps the gun pointed at me. “Why are you… here?”

“We’re here to save you.”

“Save… me?” he repeats, looking dumbfounded, and indeed, feeling “dumbfounded.”

It’s a little odd to know exactly how people are feeling at a given moment.

“Yeah, you got that message, didn’t you?” I ask, taking a small risk by stepping forward a little.

“Confusion” completely fills his mind now, and he finally lowers the gun, looking at me like he doesn’t know what I’m talking about. With one mouth gaping open slightly, showing yellowed, rotten teeth, he asks in a slow, puzzled voice. “…Message? What… message?”

…Huh?

Don’t tell me he never got the message from S. Why else would he go through such trouble to hide himself away, then? I mean, wasn’t it because of that that he’s so paranoid and thinking that we’re demons planning to murder him? What’s the deal with this guy?

“Y-you’re not with… them?” the man asks, suspicious.

“Them? Who’s ‘them’?”

“T…them,” he babbles, his speech degenerating to a gurgle. “T-they want me dead. I-I know they do. They won’t let me run away… they’ll… they’ll come and get me. They’ll… they’ll send monsters after me and I’ll die…”

His “fear” is rapidly taking over his mind again.

“H-hey, calm down…!”

“N-no…!” he says, throwing the gun in his hand away.

I wince as it bounces off the cold floor, afraid that it might accidentally discharge a bullet and hit me in the leg or something. Looking away from the fallen pistol and back to the man, I see that he’s brought one hand to his mouth, looking like he really wants to heave. His eyes are wide open, to the point that they look like they’re bulging out of their sockets. The veins in his forehead pop out, showing through the skin, pumping and pumping and pumping.

“U-ugh…” he moans, stumbling back. He moves his hand to his head, clutching it, as if he’s in pain.

“Fear” is the only thing he feels right now. Fear so great that the “pain” doesn’t even compare to it.

But what does he fear? If it’s not us, then…

“N-no…nononononononoNONONONONONONONONONONONOOOOOOOOO…!” he screams, falling to his knees.

“W-whoa, what’s up with him…!?” Elly says, cringing back in disgust.

His dark eyes, full of fright, change color, becoming full of deep red instead. At the same moment, I feel an immense amalgamation of countless emotions bursting out from his body. Happiness, sadness, hatred, rage, regret…! Everything!

It’s incredibly overwhelming. It’s to such a degree that my head hurts just trying to focus on his emotions. The human mind wasn’t meant to be able to comprehend so many ranges of emotions at once… at this rate, if I focus on him any longer, it’ll end up overloading me. Shaking my head as I try to close myself off to the feelings that I can feel leaking out of him, I take a step back, squinting as a bright light engulfs the kneeling man.

“He’s… changing!” Kurumi says with a look of alarm, all evidence of being angry or in pain gone from her face.

Straining to make out his figure within the blinding light, I see the dark silhouette within jerk around in spastic, painful looking movements. His arm twists itself back as a long tendril rips its way out of his body, accompanied by a bloodcurdling roar of pain. Another tendril charges its way out of the man’s back as he continues to scream. What the hell… what the hell is happening to him!?

With a final jerk, the light fades away, leaving behind the regular scene of the subway. But in the man’s place, there now stands something completely different; propping itself up on eight thin legs sprouting from its back, a vaguely humanoid figure hangs in the air where the man used to be. Its skin is covered by a smooth, chitin-like armor, and its face is a complete and utter blank, possessing no eyes, mouth, nose, or any ears.

Limiter released,” a flat voice, the same voice as that man’s, only without a hint of emotion in his tone, echoes out from the direction of the spider-like thing.

“What the hell…?” I find myself muttering, taking uneasy steps back. Did he… turn into this monster? “What the… what the hell are you!?”

“Wasn’t he supposed to be just a human…!?” Elly says in disbelief.

I am an existence created by those known as ‘humans’.

What…? Humans made that thing? You’ve got to be kidding! There’s no way humans would be able to make a monster like that… Stop lying! Ugh, I can’t read him, either. Just trying to makes me feel like my head’s going to explode… Just… what is that thing? Why… why did Kurosawa Takeshi turn into a monster like that?

Destruction is humanity’s ultimate purpose,” the spider-like monster continues in that robotic, monotone voice, reaching out toward me with one arm. “As an existence created by humanity, my purpose is also destruction. That is the collective will of humans; the will for the end of everything. I will carry out that will.

“Wha-!?”

No, wait, that can’t be good!

The world will perish.

A shining orb appears at the end of that monster’s arm, pointed directly at me.

“He’s attacking!” I hear Kurumi cry out.

“Hey, move your ass!”

W-what the fuck!? What’s going on here? I-I can’t move…! Shit, am I going to die without knowing anything…?

Before I realize what’s even going on, someone tugs at the back of my shirt, dragging me down to the floor. Falling onto my back, I watch as a searing hot beam of light passes by where I was standing not even a second ago. Looking up, I see Kotohime with a rare seirous expression crouched down next to me, one hand gripping a fistful of my shirt.

“T-thanks,” I mutter to her as I scramble up to my feet.

“He wants to kill us,” she says flatly, staring at the spider monster.

Yeah, it really seems that way… Damn it, what did we even do to him?

Undeterred, the same glowing light appears at the end of his arm again. As I make to dart out of the way, knowing better than to stand still like a deer caught in headlights this time, Kotohime stops me, grabbing my sleeve. She raises one hand, pointing her palm toward the monster, muttering something under her breath. As he fires the white laser, it strikes the empty air in front of us, fizzling out. Oh. She must have used that shield…

I see a bead of sweat roll down the girl’s face, and her breathing suddenly becomes ragged. She drops to her knees, her face showing some pain. What…? But, didn’t she block the attack?

“This… this might not be very good,” she says with a shaking as she stands back up with a troubled smile, turning to me. “…He’s really strong.”

Ugh…

“Well, what do we do now?” Elly asks, fairly unimpressed. “Do we fight him?”

Damn it, we came to save him, and now we might just end up being the ones to put him down? That’s just messed up, after everything I’ve gone through these past days just to find anything on this guy… But still, it didn’t seem like he wanted to kill us before he turned into this thing… isn’t there a way to turn him back?

…Huh?

Up above, I think I can feel something. There’s something up there that wasn’t here before, and whatever it is, it’s pretty close. No way… it isn’t the monster that’s been sent to off Kurosawa, is it? Although, at this point, it might be the one to get killed if they end up meeting here…

…Wait a minute, can’t we just run away then, and let the two monsters duke it out amongst themselves? But if that happens, Kurosawa might end up getting killed, and then we’ll have failed to save him… but really, do I even care about that at this point? He’s turned into a monster and he’s trying to kill us!

What am I supposed to do here?

[ ] Stay.
-[ ] Kill Kurosawa.
-[ ] Try to subdue him.
[ ] Retreat from this place.
>> No. 28445
[x] Stay.
-[x] Try to subdue him.

His alternate form and his fear might be associated with the shady business going on. Shady Business that might have a few PC-98 folks in its employ.
>> No. 28446
[x] Stay.
-[x] Kill Kurosawa.

Don't want anyone to get hurt because we decide something stupid.

We'll get to meet whatever the hell is above us as well.
>> No. 28447
[x] Retreat from this place.

The thing above may be the real Kurosawa. And if it's not, let them tear away at each other. We were too late; lesson learned. Report back to base for a brainstorm on what just happened. Pray we'll get it right next time.
>> No. 28448
[x] Stay.
-[x] Kill Kurosawa.
hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
>> No. 28449
[x] Stay.
-[x] Try to subdue him.
>> No. 28451
[x] Stay.
-[x] Kill Kurosawa.

I think our attempt to save him has already failed and all that's left is clean up.
>> No. 28452
[x] Stay.
-[x] Try to subdue him.
-[x] Also pick up pistol

Hey pistol could come in handy for our protagonist. Least enough to stun a monster or two.
>> No. 28456
[X] Retreat from this place.

I think finding out what the other thing that's getting closer is more important.
>> No. 28457
[X] Retreat from this place.
>> No. 28458
>>28447
I don't think what happened had anything to do with Sariel's master plan, but some other plot going about. And That thing above might be something Sariel sent, one of the sisters, or something the company sent to silence him. (can't fake fear that well)

And how are we going to prove Yuuka wrong when we're so quick to run away from things or take the easy way out?
>> No. 28462
[x] Stay.
-[x] Try to subdue him.
So...
This is the sort of person Sariel is trying to rid his "new world" of.
The sort of person who transforms into a nihilistic Persona boss (tautology, I know) when under sufficient stress.
Hrm. Must investigate further.
>> No. 28464
[ ] Stay.
-[ ] Try to subdue him.

So whatever we had chosen, this would be the result.
>> No. 28465
>>28464
Not exactly. His transformation was probably a given, but if earlier the choice to try to subdue him was picked, then potentially this could have started off at a much more disadvantageous position.
>> No. 28467
[x] Stay.
-[x] Try to subdue him.
-[x] Don't be zombie-movie stupid about it, though (talking with monsters probably isn't going to help; if it's trying to actively kill you, kill it back, etc).

I wonder if this means the protagonist is one of these things, too, or at least some type of this kind of thing.

And if he's not been getting emails, then I wonder if, as someone suggested, a second group isn't after him.

Also, an interesting note: Kurosawa worked for a weapons company, and this thing is talking about destruction being humanity's ultimate purpose? Wondering if there's some kind of link there, or if that's just a funky coincidence.
>> No. 28469
>>28467
hence my suspicions of a second group in this 'game' (excluding independents like the dream sisters)

We know about Sariel's attempts, but it seems at least one other being decided to make a big effort for herself.
>> No. 28470
[x] Stay.
-[x] Try to subdue him.
-[x] Also pick up pistol.

Stun-kill him if you can, but don't be stupid.
>> No. 28496
[x] Stay.
-[x] Try to subdue him.
-[x] Also pick up pistol.
>> No. 28510
“Hold on. Look, I know I’m probably asking for a bit much, but don’t kill him,” I say with a shaking voice, taking a step back from the monstrosity that’s suddenly revealed itself to me as I try to speak as fast as I can. “If he dies, we might lose our only chance to figure out what’s really going on here!”

The spider-like monster lifts up one of his long, slender legs. The tip of his leg is shaped like a single-edged blade—it’s probably just as sharp, too. Sending it crashing down, it takes a small step toward us, while the other legs keeping the comparatively small humanoid body suspended in the air begin to move as well. Speeding up, the former Kurosawa begins to scurry toward us, letting out a distorted, inhuman roar in that robotic voice of his.

Reacting immediately, I fumble around to my side with my hand, trying to grab hold of her wrist. Though I waste precious nanoseconds, I manage to find and grab her by her sleeved wrist, pulling her along as I dash away from the incoming beast. Elly and Kurumi stand their ground, with the former leaning forward a little while the latter spreads out her wings out to their full extent, just like a wild animal trying to intimidate predators.

Elly jumps back as one of the blade-legs slash at her, missing her by a hairsbreadth and sinking into the floor with enough force to embed itself into it. With a disgusted face, she casts a brief look toward me as I run away. “…And what do you suggest we do? Sing it to sleep?”

“Let’s just beat it up until he’s knocked out,” Kurumi says as she brings her thumb to her mouth, pressing the surface of her thumb to one of her sharp fangs until the skin is broken, causing a small amount of blood to leak out. “…I have to pay him back for earlier, anyway.”

She raises her pale hands to chest level, that small drop of red standing out clearly amidst the white. That small drop of blood, leaving behind red trails as it travels down the vampire girl’s hand, begins to grow, that red expanding until the girl’s hands are stained completely red. Fluid and watery in form, the mass of blood gathered around her hands turn and shift until they harden into a crystal-like material, shaped like talons in form.

…is she going to be alright? I mean, that’s a lot of blood from what I’m seeing here.

Regardless, I keep hurrying away in haste. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the gun that Kurosawa discarded just before he mutated into that thing. Figuring it might at least be useful, I let go of Kotohime’s hand, crouching down to pick it up without stopping. Feeling the smooth, cool touch of metal in my palm, I take a glance back at the others. Kotohime stands by my side, watching the ensuing battle with one hand placed over her chest in worry. I still can’t read her, but from her expression, she’s probably… scared?

“This should be far enough to not get in their way,” I say, though it’s more to reassure myself than to reassure her.

She nods, biting her lip. I guess she’s not entirely convinced.

With a heavy heart, I observe Kurosawa and the girls, my palms sweaty with anticipation. My newly acquired pistol slips a little in my grip as I hope that I won’t be forced to have to use it. I don’t really have any experience with handling real guns, so I’m not going to be a crack shot with it from the get-go. Just point the thing at what you want to stop from moving and pull the trigger ‘til it dies, right?

Elly jumps up into the air, whipping around her scythe as she gives it a whirl before bringing it down. One of Kurosawa’s bladed legs quickly rises up to block the strike, the outer edge of the girl’s scythe grinding against the bladed edge of the slender leg in a fury of sparks. Not pressing the attack any further, she retreats away just in time to graze past an attack by a second leg shooting out to stab her. Kurosawa’s spidery legs begin the scurry forward yet again to pursue Elly as she continues to jump back and away from him.

As Elly lures him away, Kurumi quickly bounds toward one of the subway walls. Her movements are so fast that I can’t follow them entirely, appearing to me as blurs. But, it looks like she’s leaped toward a wall to kick herself off to it, charging at Kurosawa with that brief burst of momentum, her blood claws extended out to smash past the morphed monster’s hard carapace.

…I wonder if they’ll really be able to subdue him without killing him, using some lethal force like that.

Distracted by Elly, Kurumi manages to strike home, thrusting one of her clawed hands at the main body. Kurosawa turns around in midair, pausing for just a brief moment as if to express shock. The legs supporting him twist themselves around to try to get his body out of the way, but they only manage it partially. Her deep red hand grazes past the side of his abdomen, breaking off some of the armor.

”Damage sustained,” Kurosawa’s mechanical voice sounds out as the fragments of the damaged armor flake to the ground. Underneath it, I can see a torn shirt, stained with blood from a freely flowing wound. So under that armor, he’s still flesh and blood. ”Commencing defensive countermeasures.”

With surprising speed, all but two of the legs shoot up from the ground. Bending like mobile tentacles, they all rush forward at Kurumi, who’s far too dumbstruck at the sudden increase in the mobility of the legs to think of getting out of the way.

One of the blades pierces through a shoulder, ripping out through the other side.

The rest of the blades soon follow, piercing through all of her limbs and her wings before extending forward to pin her to the wall.

She screams in pain.

”Exterminating,” Kurosawa’s main body says in that soulless voice as he points his palm at the helpless vampire, which begins to glow with light.

“Kurumi!” I unthinkingly cry out.

Damn it! Taking a couple of frenzied steps forward, I raise up the gun in my hand, pointing the barrel at the monster. Shit, is this even going to dent it? Ah, whatever! I don’t have time to worry about that now—if I don’t hurry, then he’s going to end up… but damn it, why won’t the sights stop shaking? Hands, be calm. Be calm…!

Before I’ve even placed my finger on the trigger, however, Elly leaps to action. High in the air, she lifts her scythe up, ready to take off the monster’s head in a flash. Ah, that’s it! With six of his legs already occupied, and the other two being used to keep the main body afloat, Kurosawa won’t be able to retaliate!

…or so I thought.

Without even looking back, that armored monster shifts his aim. His glowing palm, no longer pointed at the pinned vampire, is now directly facing Elly instead.

“Oh shi-” is all I hear from her before she’s blown back by a massive force of light, sending her crashing into the other wall.

I feel all the strength leave my arms, the barrel of my gun pointing to the ground, the same as my eyes.

We’re so dead.

“Don’t worry.”

Upon hearing Kotohime’s voice, I look up at her in surprise. She’s got that easygoing, cheerful smile, devoid of any fear or worry.

“It’ll be alright,” she says, clapping her hands together and nodding. “Probably.”

“…on what grounds do you say that?” I say in complete despondence.

“I’m pretty strong too,” she says, pumping her arms.

“You’re going to fight it?”

She doesn’t answer me, only giving me a wink as she turns back to Kurosawa, who’s once again pointing a glowing palm at Kurumi, who vainly struggles against the sharp legs dug deep into her flesh. She’s clearly losing strength and consciousness. Right now, she feels “pained” and “frightened”. Reading her, I almost feel like I’ve also got several blades stuck in me, causing me to grimace.

Kotohime walks toward the monster at almost a leisurely pace, in no hurry despite the current mortal peril that we’re all in right now, Kurumi especially, since that thing’s just about ready to deliver a coup de grace. Once within several meters of the monster, she cups her hands around her mouth and…

“Hello, Mr. Monster!” she calls out to the thing.

…is she serious? Has she gone completely, absolutely, undeniably nuts? Nuts as in the suicidal kind?

The faceless… “face” of Kurosawa turns around slowly, looking at Kotohime, I guess. After a brief, inexplicable pause, he turns his glowing palm toward the girl, and fires off another of that white blast. Before it hits her, she erects up that barrier again, causing the blast to fizzle out upon hitting that invisible shield. She doesn’t fall to her knees this time, though, and indeed, she doesn’t seem tired at all. She stands there with her hands folded politely together, smiling at the monster.

Letting out a rumbling growl, Kurosawa turns his entire body toward the girl. As if to focus the entirety of his attention on her, he pulls back the legs stabbing through Kurumi. Finally free from the blades, she falls to the floor. Despite the seriousness of the injuries, though, she manages to stand up in no time at all.

“Please get back,” Kotohime says gently to her.

“Um, uh… yeah,” Kurumi nods after a short pause, staring at the girl with a look that’s a mixture of gratitude and wonder before hurrying off toward Elly.

…Even if she can block his attacks, what does she intend on doing? There’s no way she can beat him if she’s human, is there? I mean, sure she’s not a normal human, but this is a monster that’s just downed two non-humans with one attack each…

Wasting no time, Kurosawa immediately lashes out with one of his legs, the sharp blade thrusting forward at the small figure of Kotohime. Before it strikes her, though, it bounces off of that invisible shield, unable to pierce through it. His growling becomes louder, as if frustrated, and several other legs follow, all attempting to break through the barrier.

“It’s pretty strong, you know,” Kotohime says to the monster, cocking one head to the side as she watches his futile attempts to shatter it. “You probably won’t be able to break it.”

She raises an arm up, pointing at the monster before her with her index finger. With that never changing smile plastered to her face, she draws a circle in the air with that finger. At the same time, beyond the glass-like barrier, a swirling dark mass appears out of thin air just above Spider-Kurosawa. Looking back at Kotohime’s finger, I realize that that dark mass is following the movement of her fingertip.

She continues to draw a circle, and that dark mass swirls around and around until it’s perfectly spherical in shape. It condenses itself to the size of a basketball, revealing a shiny, ebony surface. In the middle of it, I can see a strange red pattern glowing like fire. What is that…? I think that’s one of the patterns of a kaleidoscope, but…

The black sphere drops down to eyelevel with Kurosawa, who ceases his previously unrelenting attacks on the barrier when it comes down to his line of sight.

“I would like it if you could show me beauty that can’t be found even in a dream,” Kotohime says in a distant, wandering voice as she claps her hands together again.

And the moment that clap sounds, the orb explodes.

Not just a weak one, but it’s one that causes a hellfire to come gushing out from where that orb was, sending out great fireballs that spread out before exploding into small fireballs! The explosion completely consumes the morphed Kurosawa, engulfing him in an infernal torrent. So that’s why she told Kurumi to get back… if she hadn’t, she would have been caught up in the explosion.

The last of the flames die away, and once the smoke clears, I see Kurosawa—as a human, thank god—collapsed in a heap on the charred floor. He looks a bit burnt, and he’s bleeding from the wound Kurumi gave him earlier, but he still seems to be breathing. I’m too amazed right now to care, though, staring completely awestruck at Kotohime. She turns back to me, making a double V with her hands.

“Victory!” she says happily.

I manage to get over my shock, enough to force a smile on my face as I raise a hand, flashing a V-sign back at her. Off to the side, I see Kurumi returning with Elly’s arm around her neck, helping her walk back to us. Her gait is so spry with energy that you’d never believe that just a moment ago she had a blade jammed in every limb, while Elly on the other hand doesn’t seem much worse for the wear but for some reason seems devoid of energy.

Figuring it’s probably safe to get close now, I’m finally able to breathe a sigh of relief as I begin to walk forward. As I pass by Kotohime, though, she suddenly begins to sink down. I catch her by the shoulders, and she manages to steady herself before she really falls over.

“Hey, are you okay?” I ask, looking at her face.

“Mm,” she nods. “…I’m just a bit tired.”

I guess that really did take a lot out of her.

Letting her lean on me as she rests her head against my chest, with one arm wrapped around her waist so I can support her better, I take slow steps toward Kurosawa. I freeze when I see him give a twitch, quickly raising my gun at him. He’s not going to attack us again, is he? If he starts freaking out again, I’ll shoot him. I’ll definitely do it…

Sluggishly, he sits up. With a dazed expression, he looks around, and then at himself. He places one hand over his bleeding wound before raising it to his eyes, staring at the blood staining his palm. Finally, he looks over at us. His “fear” returns, his eyes widening when he sees the gun I’ve got pointed at him.

“Y-you all…” he says, trying to crawl back. “I… I kn-knew it! You’re, you’re trying to kill me!”

“No, dumbass,” Elly says in an irritated voice, pulling away from Kurumi to walk forward. “You’re the one who tried to kill us first!”

“Yeah!” Kurumi says, indignant.

“I…?” Kurosawa says in apparent disbelief. He stares down at his bloodied palm again, then at the state of the station around him. “I… no, that can’t be. I… I’m out of time?”

“Out of time?” I repeat, raising an eyebrow. “What the hell are you talking about? Who are you?”

“I need… more,” he says, slowly getting up. I make sure to keep the gun pointed at him. “I need more… if I don’t get more, then I’ll go insane…”

“Hey, what are you talking about!?” I yell out, an edge of frustration apparent in my voice.

“Ah… but they’re the only ones that have it…” he continues to talk in that distant voice. “If I return… then they’ll give more to me… more and more and more and more… but if I go back, then they’ll kill me, and then it won’t matter at all. Nothing will, hahahaha...”

Damn it, how am I supposed to make sense of his insane rambling?

“Let’s just kill this lunatic,” Elly says, readying her scythe. “He’s not going to tell us anything.”

He doesn’t even respond this time, mumbling incoherently under his breath while staring at his feet.

But… hold on, haven’t I forgotten something really important? The reason why we were so pressed for time in the first place…

Oh.

That would be…

The ceiling suddenly breaks apart with a huge bang, concrete debris raining down around us. A new monster crashes down to the floor along with a chunk of the ceiling, just behind us. Standing at least eight feet tall, the humanoid monstrosity’s covered with thick armor, glowing and almost futuristic in appearance, from head to toe. One of its arms is completely massive, with a piston-like ram installed just below the elbow. A pair of brown, stag-like horns juts out of the top of its head, and its face has no features other than a large, single red dot which swirls around, like the eye of a Cyclops.

“N-nooooooooo!” Kurosawa screams in terror at the mere sight of the monster, trying to scramble up to his feet.

“What the hell-!?” Elly yells out, turning around.

A low, rumbling growl echoes out from the horned giant, the red eye staring past all of us and fixated on Kurosawa, who’s still desperately trying to get up. What appear to be thick streams of steam jet out of its head, and without a moment’s notice, it rushes at us, its massive frame belying its lightning-like speed.

It stops just in front of Kurumi, who only has time to stare up at it in shock before it backhands her with its smaller arm, knocking her to the floor. Elly, having recovered from the initial shock, grits her teeth as she extends a palm, but before she can do anything, the horned monster smashes its massive arm into her stomach. The piston on its elbow pulls back, and charging forward with tremendous force, the ram crashes into the girl’s body, hitting her body with such force that it sails straight through the air until it hits the wall with enough force to shake the entire station.

I… I don’t think she’s going to get back up from that this time.

I draw a sharp breath as it approaches and raise my gun at it. I don’t know how much good a pistol like this will do to that thing, but it’s the only thing I can do. Elly and Kurumi are down for the count and Kotohime’s… I think she’s fallen asleep leaning against me, and even if she were conscious I don’t think she’d be able to pull off that bomb a second time. Not on this guy.

A low growl sounds as the red eye fixes on me. Moving much slower now, it walks toward me. Finger ready on the trigger, I point the barrel at the monster’s head. But… even though from this distance, I can’t miss, I can’t pull the trigger… Shit, shit, shit! I’m way too scared! What if this doesn’t work…?

…It walks past me.

I was… completely ignored?

Instead, it walks to Kurosawa, still desperately trying to crawl away. Bending down, the monster grabs him by the neck with its smaller arm and lifts him up into the air. His legs flail in the air uselessly, his crazed eyes widening further and further the higher the monster lifts him up. Gagging noises come out from his open mouth as the monster begins to squeeze the life out of him. Kurosawa’s begging eyes look at me, as if pleading with me to save him.

What… what should I do?

[ ] Shoot the monster.
[ ] Shoot Kurosawa.
[ ] Do nothing.
>> No. 28511
[x] Shoot the monster.

Although I doubt we could really pick a target here, terrified as we are.
>> No. 28512
[x] Shoot the monster.
>> No. 28513
[x] Shoot the monster.
>> No. 28515
[x] Shoot the monster.
>> No. 28516
[x] Shoot the monster.

From the way things are going it looks like Kurosawa will die sooner or later, but since we were told earlier about the guy who killed himself when he got the message, there was something that seemed to indicate that if someone didn't die during these shifts/specific dates there was at least some change to the plan of who's causing all this...

Well, at least that's what I got out of it.
>> No. 28518
[x] Shoot Kurosawa.

Complete mind-fuck ahoy!
>> No. 28527
[x] Shoot the monster.

If we were a really, really, really good shot, we could plug Kurosawa, and make it only SEEM like he died. Then Mecha-Cylon would bugger off and we could get Kurosawa to a hospital.

So my guess is Kurosawa is some kind of mechanical bio-monster made by the CC, but they keep them addicted to something or other a la DS9 (ketracel white) or Jurassic Park (lysine) in order to keep them on a leash, or at least have only a limited lifespan if they go rogue.

And I'll bet the Mecha-Cylon is either another such bio-monster, or a big robotic silencer what silences the rogue units.
>> No. 28528
>>28527
Or we could be a really bad shot, and kill the opposite of who we aim for. This is assuming the shot doesn't bounce off of metal-head here and ricochet, ending up the same way.
>> No. 28529
[x] Shoot the monster.
>> No. 28531
[x] Shoot the monster.

HEY GUYS LETS SHOOT THE TERMINATOR WITH A HANDGUN
>> No. 28536
>>28531
SOUNDS GOOD, EVEN THOUGH ALL THE REST OF THE POLICE FORCE HAVE ALREADY TRIED TO DO SO AND FAILED. I´M PRETTY SURE WE WON'T. SOMEHOW.

[x] Shoot the monster.
>> No. 28540
[x] Shoot Kurosawa.

Ever see Starship Troopers?
>> No. 28541
[X] AIM FOR THE WEAKPOINT ON THE BACK
>> No. 28544
>>28540
What about that movie?
>> No. 28545
[x] Do nothing.
This one isn't allied with Sariel. Otherwise it would have ganked us already. I'm also leaning towards it being a CC creation.
>> No. 28547
I wonder if we'll meet any Seihou characters. Is there anything like a decent group shot of them all together, and labeled?

Maybe that's where our silver-haired mystery girl is from. Or it's Shinki or Sakuya or Youmu. Are there any other Silver-haired PC-98 touhous?
>> No. 28562
File 127847237555.jpg - (215.71KB , 1024x768 , muse.jpg ) [iqdb]
28562
>[ ] Shoot the monster.

Maybe they're magic bullets ...that are curiously ineffective against vampires? Or maybe this will be what the protagonist needs to realize the gun is useless and to stop pointing it at things? Physical trauma that gets him sent to the ICU.

>[ ] Shoot Kurosawa.

Mercy-killing. Maybe Yuka would approve. What are you doing with that thing in your hands, a weapon meant to kill other humans? Psychological trauma for having murdered another person, the question of whether he made the right choice or not gnawing at him.

>[ ] Do nothing.

Junkies Never Win option. Psychological trauma for seeing a man's brain extruded through a straw when you could have euthanized him.

>>28547
>Maybe that's where our silver-haired mystery girl is from. Or it's Shinki or Sakuya or Youmu.

Muse has been a Seihou character in two of the games. She has dialogue with Yuka in Kioh Gyoku (they're both playable characters), sort of... Muse has dialogue specific to Yuka, but Yuka has stock responses to all of the other characters. She looks like a young child with short, silver hair. A lot like Youmu, but with curly fringe.

According to her Wiki entry and what little amount of her dialogue translated: She's some kind of magical-scientific übermensch who can manipulate matter and has a grudge against VIVIT, but isn't so mean-spirited toward everyone else. She also has healthy hobbies such as puppetry and playing with sharp objects.

Seihou games take place in the distant future, but that would not be a problem, since no one is saying anything about how they got here either, whether it's the touhoes, the Kurosawa Takeshi bio-weapon, and now this 'almost futuristic' hunter-killer.

>Are there any other Silver-haired PC-98 touhous?

No.

[x] Shoot Kurosawa.

Kurosawa is almost certainly going to die: This could have happened as recent as 1 choice back and possibly far, far earlier. And the time window for a heroic save by Yuka isn't likely to be different for any of these choices.
>> No. 28585
>>28562
...Huh.

I want to change my vote, but I have a bit of admittedly stupid, misplaced faith in the hope that we'll be able to do something in time.

And even if he can't do anything to the monster, then now he's got some personal vendetta-fuel. That's an ugly, harsh way to look at it, I know. Just sayin', though.


Your mention of Muse is definitely helpful, though.
Here's where Mysterious Silver Girl is mentioned in the story:
>>28371
>From this far away, it’s pretty hard to make out her details, but from what I can see from here, she has short, silver hair. Comparing her height to the other passerby, I’d say she’s fairly short. Almost like a kid, actually. Maybe… twelve-to-fourteen by estimation?
>She also seems to be looking around for something, turning her head one way, and then another. Finally, after a few seconds, she raises a hand, and the space around her gives off that ripple again, which she steps into, vanishing out of sight.

And your description
>Muse has been a Seihou character in two of the games. ...has dialogue specific to Yuka...
>She looks like a young child with short, silver hair. A lot like Youmu, but with curly fringe.
>According to her Wiki entry and what little amount of her dialogue translated: She's some kind of magical-scientific übermensch who can manipulate matter and has a grudge against VIVIT, but isn't so mean-spirited toward everyone else. She also has healthy hobbies such as puppetry and playing with sharp objects.
I think you're absolutely right, sir.
>magical-scientific übermensch
Yes, this certainly seems to be a recurring theme: Kurosawa the bio-weapon, giant robot hunter...

Eight probably-important things (which this only started out as two. WTF.):

1) I think we really, really, really need to get chummy with Yumemi and Chiyuri, if we ever find them, because this shit is sounding more and more up their alley. Hopefully they aren't part of the bad stuff.

2) Somebody remind me: is Sempai working for CC, or is Kurosawa part of CC, or both, or neither? I forgot, and that could become really important, later.

3) Add Rika and Rikako to that list of People To Make Nice With.
-a) ...Unless Rika built the Mecha-Cylon. In which case, fuck.

4) How many different fucking factions do we HAVE, here? Here's my attempt at sorting this shit out.
-Unaligned, Scattered Gensokyo Refugees -- Less of a faction than a category, but still.
-Sariel's First Church of Possibly Brainwashed Makaians -- Sariel is pissed about "unclean people," (which include the guy who offed himself, the protagonist, and Kurosawa) or something, and wants to reset and remake the world. How and why he has a bunch of Makai people along, who knows?
-Rogue Element #1/Independently-Acting(?) Troublemaking Assholes -- The Great Gianna -getsu Sisters, and possibly Loli Alice.
-Cactus Corporation -- Cooking up weird shit since future ago. Possibly making bio-monsters? I really don't know much about how they factor into Seihou's story, or what their aims in that are.
-Other Seihou people -- This is only a theoretical category/faction, since I know little or nothing about Seihou's story. it could be that EVERYONE in it is Cactus-related; I don't know. On that note, did we ever see a maid with Pink Hair?
-One Man Unto a and several Monsters -- Our hero and the women in his house, who have stumbled across all this shit.

5) Why didn't Sariel just skoosh the protagonist and be done with it, rather than playing the tick-tock-time's-running-out game? He had no compunctions about doing it at the church. Is this because of sudden panic, Arrogance/ego, sadism, or is it just a plot hole?

6) Who was the guy who killed himself, again? He had some relation to Meira or A. or someone, didn't he? We should really ask whichever of them it was, next time we see them, to look more into his life/history/identity and whatnot. Maybe we'll find some common link between us, Kurosawa, and Mr. Suicide that helps shed some light on why Sariel wants us dead.

7) Anyone else notice the constant implication of colliding/overlapping/meeting worlds? The Outside world, PC-98 Gensokyo, maybe Windows Gensokyo (Yuuka and non-loli Alice), and now Seihou... Possibly even Makai and Hell count as two individual worlds as well.

8) Is anyone else seeing a link between Yuuka's rooftop question, the sudden inclusion of magic+science in the story, and the fact that she's playable in whichever Seihou game(s)? Either
-her Seihou inclusion is BH canon, or
-BH is going to sort of be her Seihou experience, or
-at the rate all this world-hopping and possible time-traveling is going, we're going to meet Seihou/Future Yuuka, who is even more jaded and cynical, or something.

...And lastly, is there a separate Seihou wiki, or is it part of the Touhou Wikia?

(By the way, Lion: If I've guessed anything correctly, don't let that keep you from writing it. Well, except if Sariel's kill-style-choice discrepancy thing is due to a plot hole. Get your ass onto fixing that, if that's the case.)
>> No. 28589
>...And lastly, is there a separate Seihou wiki, or is it part of the Touhou Wikia?

It's part of the Touhou wikia.

Though Yuuka in Seihou was more a cameo than anything else.
>> No. 28592
>>28585
The Makai residents aren't necessarily brainwashed. Remember that Sariel was originally the final boss of the Makai route of the first game.
>> No. 28596
>>28592
If anything he's hiding his true objectives from them.
>> No. 28612
R-right. I should shoot that thing. I should… I should just fucking squeeze the trigger and fill it with lead until it drops dead full of holes. I need to… I need to save him, so I can figure out what the hell is going on here, because if he dies, then so does my only chance at delving deeper into whatever plot that angel is scheming up.

It feels like there’s a painful lump growing in my throat that makes it hard to focus, and my heart’s beating so fast that I feel like it’s going to give out and explode if anything sudden happens, and in fact, at the moment I feel lightheaded and like I’m going to pass out. My nerves have reached their limit, and as I try to point the barrel of the pistol at the monster, I can’t help that my arm is shaking wildly, the constant swerving completely throwing off my aim. I don’t know how many seconds have passed since I raised the gun, but it feels like it’s been an eternity already.

What if it doesn’t work? What if the bullets just end up bouncing off? What if I miss and hit Kurosawa instead?

I can’t focus on anything but those worries as my finger slowly pulls back on the trigger.

Bang!

The kick of the gun is much stronger than I anticipated, and my unprepared arm suffers the consequences. A painful shock runs up from my wrist to my shoulder. Even though this gun probably isn’t a high-caliber revolver or anything, to a gun newbie who’s never handled a real pistol in his life and only using one hand, it’s still numbing. There’s also a slight ringing in my ears from the sound of the gunshot.

… I missed. Completely. The bullet probably didn’t even get anywhere near the monster.

Breathing rapidly, with cold sweat running down my face, I raise the gun to take another shot. Lining up the sight with the huge figure in front of me, I narrow my eyes and grit my teeth, my arm tense and ready this time. My hand isn’t as shaking as badly as the first time. I pull the trigger again.

Bang!

Shit! I… I think it just bounced off one of its shoulders. I couldn’t see it, but a metallic clang reverberated throughout the station just now, and it doesn’t seem like it hurt that thing at all! I… I can’t even see a crack or a dent in the armor covering that thing’s body, and it hasn’t even responded to it. Panicking, I readjust my aim, pulling the trigger again and again.

Bang! Bang! Bang!

Damn it, damn it, damn it, this stupid peashooter is useless on that thing! All the bullets are either missing completely or bouncing off of its body!

“Ugh…!” Kurosawa grunts in pain as the armored monster lifts him up even higher, his struggling growing increasingly more futile. His legs aren’t even kicking anymore so much as they are just squirming.

Crack!

His legs stop kicking and his arms drop to his sides, his body hanging by the neck from the monster’s hand. His eyes still staring wide open, Kurosawa is unable to utter even a single word anymore. The monster pauses a bit, as if relishing in the sight of the limp body before it. Slowly, it lowers Kurosawa, before tossing him like a ragdoll onto the nearby subway tracks.

And then it turns to me.

Fuck.

Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck—!

With its slow, lumbering steps, it begins to approach me like before. Even though it showed off incredible speed against Kurumi and Elly, it clearly doesn’t even care to show me its real speed, knowing that I have no way to harm it or get away from it. Damn it… damn it! Is it going to kill me? Was it wrong to choose to save the life of a stranger? I don’t want this… I don’t want this! I don’t want my first truly selfless act to be my last, damn it!

But before I know it, that thing is stand in front of me. Its glowing red eye swirls around in its blank of a face before it finds me, now fixated in its place. The monster stands still, as if watching me. But it’s only just biding its time, isn’t it? It’s just savoring my fear before it flattens me with one hit. I’m going to be killed… I’m going to be killed…

Fuck that!

In defiance, I raise my pistol against it once more, pointing it straight up at its face. As I pull back the trigger, I cry out in desperation, “Die!”

Bang!

The bullet strikes its helmet.

Cracks begin appearing in its faceplate, like it’s made of glass. I can actually see the flattened bullet lodged in the center of the plate, unable to completely pierce through it. The red orb shining on its face swirls around like crazy, darting in zigzags. A loud, rumbling roar emanates from it once more as it pulls back that huge arm of its, the piston-like device controlling the ram at its elbow drawing back.

… Shit, I think I may have pissed it off.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Aiming for the eye, I mean. That’s usually the weakness of everything, right?

This… really could have turned out better.

Mom, dad, sis… I’m sorry.

Just as I’m saying my prayers, with the monster pushing forward its arm to kill me in a single strike, I feel a pair of hands pushing me back, making me tumble onto the floor behind me on my ass. Kotohime, who had been unconscious until now, had squirmed out of my arm to shove me back, stepping forward to erect another barrier between us and that monster. The monster’s fist collides with the barrier, and a moment after, the ram launches itself forward, striking against the shield with an immense amount of force.

The barrier breaks apart with the sound of glass shattering.

The girl shrieks as she’s blown back, flying through the air above me. She hits the ground, rolling spectacularly on the floor before eventually coming to a stop, lying on her front and unconscious again. I can see a trickle of blood running down her face from the top of her head.

Turning my head around when I hear the monster’s heavy steps coming toward me, I look up at its gigantic form. It stands above me, looking down at me through that cracked faceplate. So it’s going to finish me off, huh? Shit. I guess this time I really am going to die. Complete annihilation. A total party wipe. What a joke I am.

But…

It walks past me again. It walks over to the giant hole in the ceiling from where it made its entrance, and cocks back its head, looking up at that hole. It crouches down and pushes itself off the ground with its legs, jumping out of the hole.

What the hell… is with that? I’m not even worth killing?

Still breathing like I ran a mile, I sit up from the floor. Slowly picking myself up, I scan the ruined area around me. Kotohime’s lying unconscious and bleeding from her head, Kurumi is pretty much entirely covered in her blood and lying on the floor and Elly is buried under a pile of rubble.

Kurosawa is on the tracks with a broken neck.

Damn it… damn it, damn it, damn it!

Was it my fault?

Did I lead everyone into this…?

Why am I the only one that’s unharmed?

It wasn’t supposed to be like this…

[ ] Go check first on…
---[ ] Kurosawa.
---[ ] Elly
---[ ] Kurumi
---[ ] Kotohime.
>> No. 28614
>Complete annihilation. A total party wipe
Use phoenix down!
>Kotohime’s lying unconscious and bleeding from her head, Kurumi is pretty much entirely covered in her blood and lying on the floor and Elly is buried under a pile of rubble.
Okay, we need to establish the order in which to help who first. There is not much we can do about head injuries.
Kurumi is bleeding heavily. Elly is buried under rubble.

Either check up on Kurumi and see if you can stop the bleeding and first aid her or take the chances to see if you can unbury Elly. But you may need help for it because you can't do it alone. It may be cruel but time is probably critical here and the ones who get help first will have a better chance of survival.


[x] Go check first on…
--[x] Kurumi, see if you can do something against the bleeding. Provide first aid with whatever you can find.
---[x] Elly, see if you can remove the rubble.
>> No. 28615
[X] Go check first on…
-[1] Kurumi
-[2] Elly
-[3] Kotohime.

Assuming nothing happens in the mean time

-[4] Kurosawa

Also, why do the dream twims have to get in the way? The entire issue wouldn't even come up if Yuuka were still with us.
>> No. 28617
[X] Go check first on…
-[1] Kurumi
-[2] Elly
-[3] Kotohime.
>> No. 28622
[x] Go check first on…
---[x] Kotohime.
---[x] Kurosawa.
---[x] Kurumi
---[x] Elly

Elly: "Why didn't you come for me, first?!"
Us: "Sorry, you're not part of the K's."
Elly: "Racist bastards!"


I really hope Kurosawa doesn't have any last words for us; as a human, he's pretty much at death's doorstep. However, our savior gave her last-ditch effort to save us, probably straining herself past the point of mere exhaustion.

The other girls can stand up against a lot more punishment than that. With how much blood Kurumi lost, she was still able to get back up on her feet. A vampire is immortal, and with a little of our own blood, we could revive her.
>> No. 28625
[x] Go check first on…
---[x] Kurosawa (at least get him off the tracks)
---[x] Kotohime.
---[x] Kurumi
---[x] Elly
>> No. 28629
[X] Go check first on…
-[1] Kurumi
-[2] Elly
-[3] Kotohime
-[4] Kurosawa

Technology is a crapshoot in this world, so a train wouldn't randomly come by. Not sure how much we can do for a broken (or worse) neck.

Kurumi sounds the worst off being covered in blood, but given how she seemed to use blood in her attacks and is the gatekeeper to the Lake of Blood, her injury might not be as serious. If so, she can help us dig out Elly.
>> No. 28635
[x] Go check first on…
---[x] Kurosawa
---[x] Kotohime
---[x] Elly
---[x] Kurumi
>> No. 28636
[x] Go check first on…
---[x] Kurosawa
---[x] Kotohime
---[x] Elly
---[x] Kurumi

The rest are youkai and can probably handle themselves. Kurosawa on the other hand is a human so we better see to him first.
>> No. 28691
Almost overwhelmed by the disastrous scene around me, I sink to one knee, one hand flying up to catch my head as a dizzy spell washes over me. In that state of weakness, my eyes wander to my other hand, still holding onto the pistol I got from Kurosawa. Damn it… Damn this useless piece of crap! Angry, frustrated, not caring for the basic rules of gun safety, I toss it away while letting out a cry like an animal. It bounces off the floor and before sliding to a stop.

I shake my head, trying to clear it. No, this isn’t the time to just sit around moping. If actions aren’t taken fast, then things could really get bad. Kurosawa… is probably a lost cause anyway, so I need to prioritize helping the girls.

Pushing myself up from the floor again, I turn toward Kurumi and rush on over to her side, squatting down next to her. She’s almost completely covered in blood, but looking through the rips in her clothing, the places where the mutated Kurosawa stabbed her with his legs, the skin underneath seem… miraculously undamaged? Wha… did she really heal that fast? Come to think of it, she was able to stand up from Kurosawa’s attacks only a moment later. I know Yuuka called vampires “tenacious,” but this is ridiculous… I don’t know whether to be amazed or relieved. Maybe both.

I slip in one hand under her head to prop it up, frantically tapping at her cheek with the other to wake her up. With an edge of desperate pleading to my voice, I say to her, “Kurumi! Kurumi, wake up, please!”

Almost immediately, her body gives a stir. Her closed eyelids begin to flutter ever so slightly, and after a moment, she sleepily opens them. Weak in strength, she slowly turns her head toward me, looking at me with those drowsy eyes.

“… I’m hungry…” she says in an almost inaudible voice.

Without hesitating, I jam a thumb into my mouth, biting down hard on it. The taste of copper fills the inside of my cheek as I bring my thumb back out. Taking in a sharp gasp of air through my teeth to stifle the pain, I shove the bleeding thumb into the vampire girl’s mouth. Her eyes widen in shock for a moment, but soon enough, her small lips clamp around the base of my thumb, and I feel her tongue running over the surface of the broken skin as she begins suckling on what little blood flows from that small wound. The caresses of her tongue soon soothe the pulsing pain in my thumb, leaving me in a state of mild bliss for a few seconds.

…!?

Once again, I can feel someone else’s feelings invading my mind, filling it with an almost overwhelmingly encumbering mixture of emotions. Feeling almost disconnected from the world around me, I stare off into a great expanse of nothingness, my eyes filled with nothing but black. A small, deadened voice whispers gently into my ear.

“… Yes, that was the day we were lost in this paradise…”

Who is this…? Who’s speaking right now?

”And right away, I stopped being human.”

Regaining her strength, Kurumi sits up somewhat, though her lips are still tightly clamped around my thumb. Finally, she releases my thumb, and I draw my hand back, immediately snapping out of whatever it was that I was experiencing just now. My thumb’s still bleeding. For a moment, I wonder if her saliva has the same clot-preventing properties as a vampire bat’s does, before deciding that that’s probably a question best answered later. Pressing the bleeding thumb against the surface of my jean to stem the flow, I watch the girl with caution, somewhat worried that she might try to attack me again.

That worry’s laid to rest, however, when she blinks several times before looking around the area with a puzzled look on her face. “…What happened? Where did that… that thing from earlier go? The last thing I remember is seeing it just show up in my face and—”

“Never mind that now,” I quickly cut her off. With my non-bleeding hand, I point toward the direction where Elly’s buried under a pile of debris; chunks of the wall that came loose when she was smashed against it. “I need you to help Elly. She’s buried under all that.”

“Huh? Elly is…?” she says somewhat haplessly, her gaze following the direction of my finger. “Wait, what happened to her? Why is she under—”

“Go!” I say firmly.

“O-okay!”

Hastily, she scrambles up, her large wings tucked in tightly as she hurries over to the wreckage keeping Elly down. Crouching down next to the mess, she begins to pick up the broken pieces of the wall and toss them aside one by one. Leaving Elly in her care, I stand up and hurry on over to Kotohime. Kneeling down beside her body, I take hold of her shoulders, gently turning her over onto her back. Despite the bit of blood trickling down her face, she wears a peaceful expression, and her chest is slowly heaving up and down at a steady pace. She looks like she’s sleeping. That’s a relief. She seems to be stable. I guess her shield absorbed most of the impact.

Biting my lower lip, I touch my hand to her head. There’s a damp spot near the top of her forehead, and when I withdraw my hand, I see that my palm is covered with the girl’s blood. Gotta stop the bleeding… gotta stop the bleeding! Out of desperation, I grab hold of the bottom of my shirt. With a loud tear and a bit of effort, I manage to rip off some of the cloth. I don’t know how well this can substitute for a bandage, but it’ll have to do. Inexpertly, I wrap the torn fabric around her head, a large area of it quickly staining itself red.

Wiping off the blood on my hand onto my jeans, I look down at the girl, feeling a pang of guilt within my mind. Propping her up with one arm under her back, I close my eyes, cradling her body and holding her close as I clench my teeth, a painful lump forming in my throat again. Damn it, she got hurt protecting me! Why did I… why did I go and shoot at that thing? It might not even have attacked us if I hadn’t provoked it like that…! Damn it…

Swallowing with some difficulty, I gently lay her back to rest on the floor as I push myself off of it again. I walk toward Kurumi, who’s seemingly just finished unburying Elly. She’s… not exactly a very pretty sight right now. Her breathing is extremely shallow, her limbs are completely limp and twisted in several awkward places, giving off the impression that all of her bones have been smashed up, and she’s bleeding like crazy from her head. I said earlier that Kurumi seemed to be the worst off out of all of us, but that was before I saw just how battered up just that one blow from that monster left Elly. Come to think of it, she’s the only one who really took a direct hit from that battering-ram of a punch. I don’t think any human in the world would be able to survive that.

“Is she…? I begin to say, almost fearing the worst.

Kurumi winces, returning to me an uneasy look. “… It looks pretty bad.”

“Should we take her to a hospital, or…?”

…No, wait. I guess that wouldn’t be an option. We can’t call for an ambulance because phones don’t work, and even if they did, we’re in a completely different world right now. There’s no one else but us here, so there’s no one to help us. And… even if we went to a normal hospital, if they find out she’s not human, who knows what they’d do to her? There’s nothing we can do…

“It’s alright,” Kurumi says when she sees my worried expression. “Youkai are pretty strong. They can recover from practically anything with enough time, so she won’t die. Though she doesn’t heal as fast as me…”

Seriously.

But, well, I guess there’s nothing we can do but let her rest.

Trying to get the image of her battered body out of my head, I begin walking toward the train tracks. On the way, I spot the gun I tossed away lying on the ground. As useless and weak as it might be, it at least provides me with some small comfort that I’m not completely helpless, and it just might serve as a lead to figuring out who Kurosawa Takeshi was, so I walk on over to it and pick it up, stuffing it in my pocket. Given that I don’t even know how to turn the safety on, I can only hope that it won’t randomly go off in my pocket and blow off my testicles.

Jumping down onto the tracks, I approach Kurosawa’s lifeless body, crumpled in a tangled heap of limbs. I’d braced myself before I laid eyes on him, but it still comes as a shock, looking at his face. His eyes are wide open and glazed over, his mouth gaping open and his expression frozen permanently in a look of shock. His face is pale, and blood is flowing from his nostrils and from a corner of his mouth. He probably suffocated. Just like the e-mail predicted he would. If he died from suffocation rather than shock, then he probably suffered a little. I wonder… if he should have been the one I shot. But either way, he’s dead now, and he took whatever information he had to offer to us with him to the grave. Everything we did in the last few days, searching for this guy to try and stave off his death, amounted to nothing at all.

…If I left him as he is now, it’ll probably cause a panic when the body appears in the real world. Even though it’s this late, there have to be some people left in the station. Then again, I’m not so hot about the idea of dragging a corpse around with me. I guess… I’ll leave him here. The public will find his body, and they’ll probably do it some respect. More than anything we could do for him, that’s for sure.

Turning back around, I climb out from the tracks, determined not to look back.

---

“… Let’s go,” I mutter in a dark voice as I stand up from the ground, Kotohime’s body draped over my back.

Kurumi nods, carrying the unconscious Elly on her own back, though her wings make it look rather uncomfortable for both of them. I turn around, still surrounded by a scene of destruction, and began walking toward the entrance we entered the subway through. Pale moonlight shines on us as we walk up the steps leading outside. Stopping there, with my head still pointed at the sky, I close my eyes in concentration, trying to “feel” the area. Not too far from where we are, I can sense someone. That someone is the only other person in this world with us. It must be Yuuka, then.

“Whoa, you’re kidding…” I hear Kurumi say in astonishment.

I open my eyes and look down at the world below the moonlit sky.

I thought the scene of ruin underground was bad, but what I’m seeing up here is catastrophic. The jungle of buildings and skyscrapers that reach for the stars has been completely cut down. Buildings have been completely demolished or vaporized. The streets are completely torn up. Dozens of cars have been smashed up and piled together. It’s a scene of completely unorganized chaos. And it’s not just here, either. From what I can tell, the whole city is like this…

“…Come on. Yuuka’s around. Let’s go find her,” I say to Kurumi, shaking away the images I’ve seen just now.

“R-right,” Kurumi says obediently, nodding. “…You know, you’re sounding more and more like a leader.”

Though outwardly I ignore the compliment, inwardly, I smile at myself a little, despite having so little reason to do so right now. Locking in on that someone I can sense, I turn in that direction and begin to walk, with Kurumi following close behind me. Neither Elly nor Kotohime show any signs of regaining consciousness any time soon, but that’s okay. They should rest up as much as they can.

I see her: Yuuka, leaning against the cracked wall of a fallen building. We begin to walk toward her, neither hastening nor slowing our pace. It’s not until we get close that we see that not even she managed to get through this without injuries: her clothes are ripped up and scorched in several places, her parasol is in complete tatters and bent to one side, and one of her arms hangs uselessly at her side, dangling by the shoulder as if it’s dislocated or broken.

“… I had a little trouble,” she says to us with a wry smile when she sights us. She looks over us both, and at the conditions of the girls on our backs. “And it looks like you all did as well.”

“What happened to those two?” I venture to ask.

“They got away,” Yuuka answers bitterly.

What was their deal, anyway?

Letting out a small sigh, she tosses the broken parasol carelessly to the ground before walking up to me, staring dead straight at me for a moment. Then, shaking her head, she steps past me, clapping me on the shoulder with her able arm as she says in a tired voice.

“Let’s go home.”

---

-“…but what was that thing that came and attacked us…? That thing wasn’t a youkai.”-

When we got home, we sure ended up giving Kana a shock. Well, who wouldn’t be? I mean, apart from me, everyone else that came in looked like they were going to keel over dead within an hour, their clothes soaked with blood. Kurumi took Elly to her room, and that’s where she is now, laid out on top of her futon to rest. As for Kotohime, she’s resting on top of my bed. Again, I’m not sure if my makeshift bandage is a good enough substitute for her head injury, but there’s nothing we can do about that right now. Ellen is still sleeping soundly, and I didn’t think we should wake her up and have her greet everyone while they look like they’re dying, so yeah.

-“So that human is dead?”-

Suddenly, I see Kurosawa’s last expression flash before my eyes. His wide, dead eyes staring out, his dark pupils fixated on me. His mouth gapes open to reveal rows of yellow, uneven teeth, his tongue lolling out the corner of his mouth. I see the expression he had before that, before his windpipe was caved in and his neck was snapped like a twig, looking at me, pleading at me for help while he squirms in the grip of his captor. I can feel the sheer “terror” he felt at that moment, even now, like that feeling’s imprinted itself onto my mind.

And that monster… that monster, with that glowing red eye constantly twitching and swirling and moving around in its nondescript face. I can see that giant before me as well, his arm drawn back and the piston slowly pushing forward that enormous ram into my face, punching my head clean off. No, that’s not what I see. What I see is Kotohime rushing forward and taking the hit in my place, screaming as her barrier collapses in front of her and that monster crushes her bones and ruptures her organs and—

“Are you listening?”

“Huh?” I say dumbly, realizing just now the reality around me. With an expression of wonder, I take a look around myself, finding myself to be in my own living room, sitting in my sofa. Oh. Right. That’s where I am. Isn’t it? And what I saw just now… that didn’t happen, did it? Or did it? I don’t… remember. “I’m… I’m listening.”

“…You’re shaking,” Yuuka says, gazing at me sternly.

I look down at myself to find what says to be true. My entire body—my hands especially—is shaking and shivering. Raising my hands, I watch them shake uncontrollably. I can’t stop. I can’t stop the shaking. Why won’t the shaking stop? Stop shaking, stop shaking, stop shaking…

She watches me calmly before speaking up. “Was that the first time you saw a man die?”

Looking back at her, I manage to stop myself from shivering just long enough to give a nod in reply. She becomes silent, simply staring at me without saying anything, continuing to observe my involuntary motions. Finally, she nods, and speaks again.

“…Fine. Then this won’t go anywhere. Go ahead and rest for now. We’ll talk about this later.”

H-huh? Talk about this later? Wait, what were we talking about? Oh… oh right, what happened today. We were talking about that. Right. But wait, why won’t it go anywhere? I was there, right? She was there too, right? So we can talk about it. So it’ll go somewhere. But why is she saying that it won’t go anywhere? That’s silly. She’s silly.

Blinking again, I see that monster standing in front of me again, drawing back its arm as I continue to shoot at it to no effect. After another blink, it’s gone again. I’m back in my home. Home, sweet home.

…ugh, maybe I do need rest, or I’ll really end up becoming strange.

[ ] You’re completely fine. You can still contribute to the discussion, right?
[ ] Go visit the injured.
--- [ ] See how Kotohime’s doing.
--- [ ] See how Elly’s doing.
[ ] You need some alone time.
>> No. 28692
[x] You’re completely fine. You can still contribute to the discussion, right?

Kana, please hug this broken mess and tell us it's alright.
>> No. 28693
[x] Go visit the injured.
--- [x] See how Elly’s doing.
Because he feels shit for dragging her into this.
>> No. 28694
[x] Go visit the injured.
--- [x] See how Elly’s doing.
He's more freaked out by her wounds than that guy's death.
>> No. 28695
[x] Go visit the injured.
--- [x] See how Elly’s doing.
--- [x] See how Kotohime’s doing.
[x] You need some alone time.
>> No. 28696
[x] Go visit the injured.
--- [x] See how Elly’s doing.
--- [x] See how Kotohime’s doing.

Works for me~!
>> No. 28697
[x] Go visit the injured.
--- [x] See how Elly’s doing.
--- [x] See how Kotohime’s doing.

Okay, take note of this, next time the ex-bosses fight again, evacuate the premises immediately.
>> No. 28698
[x] You need some time alone.
The girls are starting to think of us as slightly dependable, lets not ruin that by showing up shaking uncontrollably and incoherent. And really, there isnt anything we could do for Elly or Kotohime, even if we were at 100 percent.
>> No. 28700
[x] You need some time alone.

as a sidenote, this choice probably leads to time alone with kana
>> No. 28701
[x] Go visit the injured.
--- [x] See how Elly’s doing.
--- [x] See how Kotohime’s doing.
>> No. 28702
[x] You need some time alone.

Work out what we can on our own, then later with the help of the girls (or at least the ones who can be sympathetic on the topic)
>> No. 28703
[x] You need some time alone.
>> No. 28704
[B] You need some time alone.
>> No. 28705
[x] You need some time alone.
>> No. 28706
[x] You need some time alone.
>> No. 28707
[x] Go visit the injured.
--- [x] See how Elly’s doing.
--- [x] See how Kotohime’s doing.
He needs to look at them, get over his guilt and try to think how to stop something like this to happen in the future.
>> No. 28708
[x] Go visit the injured.
--- [x] See how Elly’s doing.
--- [x] See how Kotohime’s doing.
--- [x] Talk to Kana.
>> No. 28709
[x] Go visit the injured.
--- [x] See how Elly’s doing.
--- [x] See how Kotohime’s doing.
--- [x] Talk to Kana.

Always always Kana.
>> No. 28710
[x] Go visit the injured.
--- [x] See how Elly’s doing.
--- [x] See how Kotohime’s doing.
--- [x] Talk to Kana.

always, always, it's always Kana time.
>> No. 28711
[x] You need some time alone.

But, [x] Check on Elly and Kotohime first thing in the morning.

A good night's sleep can do wonders. Assuming that we actually manage to avoid being accosted in our dreams that is. And good grief, Yuuka seems downright friendly now.
>> No. 28712
need some time alone
>> No. 28722
“…Yeah, I’ll do that,” I say, running my hand over my eyes as I shake my head, trying to get those images out of my head.

Goddamn it, what’s wrong with me right now? Feeling slightly nauseous on top of reliving those moments, I stand up on my feet, in spite of my body shaking so badly that I feel like I’m going to fall over. Tensing up my legs so I don’t end up stumbling and falling to the floor from the mere act of putting one foot in front of the other, I head off toward the bathroom, intending to wash my face. Standing in front of the sink, I let the water run for a few seconds, blankly staring at the flowing water for a few seconds before reaching down to splash my face.

…Damn it. In the end, we didn’t accomplish anything. We couldn’t save that guy from being killed, nor did we figure out what was going on at all. And not only that, but now the situation’s a lot more complicated than it was, as if things weren’t difficult enough already, what with Kurosawa turning into a monster and trying to kill us and all. Just… what the hell is going on? What the hell was that thing that came to kill Kurosawa? Was it… some kind of a robot or something?

Another image flashes before my eyes: Elly lying amidst chunks of a broken tiled wall, her body broken and bloodied and limp.

Shit… Damn that thing, just showing up out of nowhere and tossing everyone around like they were ragdolls. Gnashing my teeth, I shut off the sink, letting out a sigh before looking at myself in the bathroom mirror. My skin looks even paler than usual, and my eyes have this unhealthy look about them. I watch myself shake my head, slowly backing away until I’m leaning against the wall behind me. Slowly, I sink down to the floor, raising my head up toward the ceiling. Slumped against the wall, I take a deep breath, my rapid heartbeats not slowing at all. That’s no good. It’s going to get overworked at this rate.

…Why did things turn out the way they did? I was able to survive this before—two times, no less! So why did everything go wrong today? Were we just unlucky?

Okay, let’s think this through step-by-step. So… the first thing that went wrong is that no one expected those so-called twin “demons” to show up. What the hell did they attack us for? Aren’t they castaways just like the rest of the girls…? Mikazuki, the elder one, had angel wings, didn’t she? So is it possible that maybe they’re in league with that self-proclaimed Savior? No, wait, that’s way too shallow of a reason to connect them together. Besides, those wings seemed more for decoration than function. It’s possible that they just attacked us because they felt like it, as dumb as a reason for that may be, but the fact that they’re doing so is the biggest problem here.

Out of everyone, Yuuka’s probably the strongest. If the twins hadn’t shown up, Yuuka would have been with us when we confronted Kurosawa and that giant of a robot thing, and she might have been able to do something against them. But they did, and judging by how hurt Yuuka was by the end of their fight, they’re definitely not enemies that can be mowed down easily in no time, which means they’re a huge threat in and out of themselves. If they show up again, the other girls apart from Yuuka herself might not even be able to contend with them, so Yuuka might have to stay behind to fight them off like today. But if that happens, we also lose the strongest member… and if anything like what showed up today pops up, we might be totally helpless against it like today.

…That monster. Just what was it, anyway? It and Kurosawa… I couldn’t help but notice that they were almost like the same thing. I mean, outwardly, they were completely different, but with the power I discovered, I could sense that they were somehow the same. How should I say it… Kurosawa, when he transformed, was constantly exploding with a chaotic torrent of all ranges of emotions, so much that it hurt my head to even get near him. The monster that killed him, on the other hand, was much the same… except that, somehow, it felt like that chaos was being suppressed. Or rather, it was like an outward shell; on the inside, I could feel a complete “nothing.” That monster didn’t feel anything; couldn’t feel anything, maybe.

Either way, it’s fucking scary as hell and just about as strong. If it’s not a youkai or a demon, what on earth is it?

Closing my eyes, I can see a red orb shining in the darkness, darting to and fro, leaving behind glowing red trails. Constantly moving, constantly twitching, never ceasing to zigzag here and there and everywhere, even as it finds something to lock on to, shaking and shivering and always in motion no matter what happens, the freak. And that damn ram of its, pulling back slowly before shooting out faster than a bullet to deliver a swift deathblow in a split second.

…I’m scared. What if that thing decides to show its face again? What if the next time, I’m the victim? It ignored me today, but if it were to come after me for real…

“…so pathetic,” I mutter to myself, banging the back of my head against the wall, still keeping my eyes closed.

“What is, master?”

My eyes fly open, and immediately, I look about the area, expecting to see Kana crouched down next to me or poking her head out of the floor or one of the walls. I don’t see her anywhere, though, leaving me with a befuddled expression.

“Up here,” her voice echoes throughout the room.

Slowly, I get up to my feet, looking straight ahead in front of me, at the mirror on the wall opposite myself. Instead of seeing myself in the reflection, though, I see Kana standing there instead, looking at me with a small smile. I gaze in amazement for a moment, stepping up to the sink to take a closer look. She’s… hijacked my reflection? How does that even work?

“Mirrors are scary things, aren’t they?” she says with a light giggle. “People fear them for some reason, even though all they should be able to do is show reflections. People are silly sometimes, aren’t they, master?”

Forcing a smile on my face, I shrug her question off, not really knowing how to respond beyond just that simple gesture.

“Is something troubling you, master?” she asks, dropping her smile for a look of concern. “You don’t look well. More so than usual, I mean.”

“Well, yeah…” I say, rubbing the back of my neck nervously. “…I’ve got a lot on my mind. I feel like I’m going crazy, if I’m already not.”

“There’s something wrong with that?” she asks, raising her eyebrows as she cocks her head to one side, looking puzzled.

“Huh? Of course there is. I don’t want to be crazy.”

“I don’t really think there’s anything wrong with being crazy, though,” she says, her playful grin returning, one gloved finger held up over her delicate lips. “Being ‘insane’ is just a label given by society, isn’t it? All that it means is that you don’t think the same way as the majority does. You can hardly be blamed for that, can you?”

“That’s a point, but…”

“But if it bothers you so much, master, I’ll say it: You’re not insane at all. Not. One. Bit~” she says, wagging her finger with each syllable to give them more emphasis. “I’m only going by my own assumptions, but you seem to have plenty of things to justify being worried over. It’d be more troubling if you weren’t affected at all, wouldn’t it? Oh no, that would be very, very bad. Apathy is the worst thing you can feel as a human being~”

…She’s right. I’m only human; it’s only natural that I’d feel some distress and fear over situations like today’s events. What kind of a human would I be if I could just shrug off events like witnessing a murder right before my eyes? I shouldn’t let it get to me too much, but I shouldn’t think of myself any less for it, either.

“Yeah,” I say with a nod. “Thanks, Kana.”

She folds her hands together on top of her lap, giving a short bow. The next moment I blink, she’s disappeared from the mirror, replaced by my own image again. Some color’s returned to my face now, and the weight I carry in my heart and the fear I keep entertaining in my head, while not gone, seem to weigh a little less than before.

As I begin to step toward the door leading out of the bathroom, I feel a wave of distortion pass by me, washing over my body. Slightly disoriented but overall not too bothered, I shake my head before taking a look around. That now familiar sense of wrongness is gone; it seems we’re finally back in the real world now.

Pi pi pi pi pi!

The cell phone. I reach into my pocket, withdrawing it. A new mail, huh? Must be from that bastard S. Punching a few keys, I hold up the screen at eyelevel, gazing at the new message.

---

Subject: (no subject)
From: S


Good evening.

At around 17:30 on the twelfth day of November, there will be a [murder]. The cause of death will be identified as a [blunt force trauma to the head]. The authorities will rule the case as [homicide].

Victim(s):

[Usami Renko]

Have a nice day.

---

…Another warning message, huh? No gloating at all about failing to save Kurosawa… In fact, S hasn’t mentioned that incident at all, even though we really did fail to keep him from dying. It’s just another mail predicting a death. And only three days away, too. Usami Renko… is it? I guess there’s no gender inequality here…

Well, we’re back in the real world now, so what should I do?

[ ] Go to sleep. Tomorrow is another day.
[ ] Check up on the injured.
[ ] Talk to Yuuka and Kurumi.
>> No. 28723
[x] Check up on the injured.
[x] Talk to Yuuka and Kurumi.
Enough Self pity. Check up on them and then get stronger.
>[Usami Renko]
We got work to do. We know how strong the enemy is, we need to form a better plan and train a bit.
And this time nothing will stop us.
>> No. 28724
[x] Check up on the injured.
[x] Talk to Yuuka and Kurumi.

Renko is the next victim? Well atleast now we have some divine inspiration (metagame knowledge) to help us identify and locate her.

I think it's best to inform Yuuka about the new kill mail, and like >>28723 said, time to stop pitying ourselves and get some results.
>> No. 28725
[x] Check up on the injured.
[x] Talk to Yuuka and Kurumi.
>> No. 28727
[x] Check up on the injured.
[x] Go to sleep. Tomorrow is another day.
>> No. 28729
>>28723
train how? The MC is basically more of a leader/negoiater type than anything fit for combat.

And you forget that Kurosawa was mixed up in some shady business, and as such had more than just Sariel's faction after him. That's why that creature most likely spared the MC; he wasn't a threat nor a target. That would explain the particular strength it had: It was released against a target that would resist considerbly. (Sariel's style is more akin to picking off weaklings)

Unless Renko's caught up in some business of her own, finding her and protecting her should be easier.

[x] Check up on the injured.
[x] Talk to Yuuka and Kurumi.
>> No. 28741
[x] Check up on the injured.
[x] Call Sempai.

I'm worried.
>> No. 28749
[x] Check up on the injured.
[x] Talk to Yuuka and Kurumi.

Yuuka's home
>> No. 28750
[x] Check up on the injured.
[x] Talk to Yuuka and Kurumi.

Save your tears for the day when the pain's far away, we've got work to do.
>> No. 28752
[x] Check up on the injured.
[x] Talk to Yuuka and Kurumi.

>[Usami Renko]
Oh, boy, this is going to be fun. Of course, by "fun", I really meant "we'll be heading for bad end central, and the path is mined."
>> No. 28757
[x] Check up on the injured.
[x] Talk to Yuuka and Kurumi.

Make it happen.
>> No. 28762
[x] Check up on the injured.
I imagine Yuuka and Kurumi are hovering around the injured, so we can talk to them after we see how they are doing.
>[Usami Renko]
Shes a college student. She should be incredibly easy to find.
>> No. 28769
>>28762
This should go alot more easier than the last case. I wonder if if the MC would run into the bitch that dumped him (and thus caused this massive funk)

When I think about it, I'm tempted to nickname him Dante as in the Clerks character.
>> No. 28818
Slipping the cell phone back into my pocket, I pull the door before me open as I step out of the bathroom. Immediately my feet lead me to the room that Elly shares with Kurumi and Ellen, and taking a deep breath as I stand before the door, I reach out with a hand, touching the cold brass handle with my fingers, gently pushing in the door and walking inside. Flicking on the light switch and hoping that it won’t wake either of the two current occupants of the room, I take a look around.

Ellen is sleeping quite peacefully on top of her futon, dressed in those yellow pajamas. She’s lucky, not having to go through tonight’s nightmare. Sokrates the cat lays curled up next to her bed, his small little eyes opening up the instant I take a second step inside. He watches me with caution for a second before closing his eyes again. Somehow, everything that cat does piss me off for some reason, but hell, now isn’t the time to be picking a fight with the damn cat.

Rather nervously, I walk to where Elly lies, crouching down next to her. To be honest… she doesn’t really look much better off than she did when we had just gotten her out of that pile of rubble. She hasn’t been changed out of her clothes yet, which is caked with blood, scratched up everywhere, and covered in concrete dust. Her face and what little else skin is exposed are in similar condition. And yet, despite looking like that, her expression seems peaceful, and her chest is slowly rising up and down gently. At least, her breathing is stable.

…I guess there isn’t really anything to be done right now, if what Kurumi said was correct, that youkai can recover from anything given enough time, then the best thing there is to do for her is to just let her rest peacefully. Not wanting to disturb her any longer, I stand up from the floor, turning back to face the door leading out again. Stepping outside as I turn the light switch off once again, I end up running into Kurumi and Yuuka in the hallway.

“Have you calmed down a little?” Yuuka asks in a deadpan sort of voice immediately after seeing me.

“Y-yeah,” I say, and though my voice is still a little shaky, I manage to gather myself and give a firm nod. “A little.”

“Good, you would have been useless otherwise,” she replies coolly, folding her arms together and turning her body to lean against a wall. “…This is as good a place to talk as any. Kurumi, you go on inside and clean Elly up a little.”

Kurumi nods without a word, hurrying past me and entering the door I just exited. Yuuka, with her red eyes glowing rather hauntingly in the darkness of the dimly lit hallway, stares at me in silence, just watching over me without saying anything. Her gaze fills me with uneasiness, as I squirm under her stare, avoiding looking her directly in the eyes. What’s she looking at me like that for? It’s uncomfortable…

“…So,” she finally begins to speak, her eyes unblinking, “You never told me about that ability of yours before.”

Ability? What abi—Oh.

“W-well, that’s…” I begin, frowning ever so slightly. “That’s because I didn’t know about it until now. I’ve never actually felt anything like that before until today.”

She looks at me like she doesn’t believe what I’m saying, narrowing her eyes and practically stabbing me with suspicion, though when she speaks again, there isn’t a hint of it in the tone of her voice, remaining very calm and casual. “Well, do you still feel it?”

Still…?

Scrunching up my face in concentration and remembering the sensations I felt using my “power,” I try to find that feeling again, feeling the veins in my head tense up. No. Nothing. I don’t feel anything at all, like that power’s been taken away from me just as quickly as it had been given to me. Feeling slightly disappointed, I sullenly shake my head as an answer.

“I see,” she says, raising a hand to her chin in thought. “...It might have been that world that gave you that power.”

Huh?

Smirking slightly as she watches the look of puzzlement I give her, she explains, “While I was in there, I took an opportunity to test something, and I came to the conclusion that that world has special qualities that this world lacks.”

“And that would be…?”

“To put it simply, a much higher concentration of the supernatural.”

Higher concentration apple juice? What?

“What’s that mean?”

She sighs, looking at me condescendingly as if I were some illiterate, idiotic savant. Brushing a lock of hair from her eyes, she folds her arms together as she crosses her legs together, putting her weight on one foot as she relaxes her posture a little. “Your world—this city—is lacking in supernatural forces.”

“And that means…?”

“Magic doesn’t work quite as well here,” she says calmly, closing her eyes. “Things like spiritual energy and qi isn’t quite as affected, because those things come from the body rather than the surrounding, but the origin of magic lies within the world itself, and so for it, it’s especially debilitating.”

“So what you’re saying is…” I say, scrunching up my face as I try to follow along with her explanation. “There isn’t enough magic fuel out here?”

“Close enough,” she says, nodding. “But that doesn’t seem to be the case in that other world. Though, I don’t like to rely on magic too much, I was still able to fight at a relatively high level of power.”

…But you still couldn’t beat those two. Not that I’d dare to say that out loud, though.

“…So, that other world is special, then?” I say, still not quite fully comprehending what that means.

“It seems to have unique properties, yes,” she says, raising a hand to her mouth and lightly biting her thumb as she continues to think. “…This is just conjecture, but it might have been one of them that caused the awakening of your power. Of course, it could also be completely unrelated.”

I keep silent. Neither of us really seems to know what’s going on, so even if I did try to agree or disagree with her, we wouldn’t have any way to know for sure. I guess the only one who really would know about this would be that angel, but it’s not like we could go ahead and ask questions and expect to get back answers. In the end, we’re really not any further than we were when we started, are we?

“…I’m going to bed,” Yuuka says, stifling a yawn with her hand. Pushing herself away from the wall she’s leaning against, she turns around and begins to head for her room, turning toward me when she’s reached out to the door handle. “You should, too. If you want to catch any sleep at all, you’d best start on it as early as possible.”

I watch her as she disappears behind the door. She’s right. After what’s happened today, it’s going to be hard for me to get any sleep at all, try as I might. Letting out a sigh as I take a slow step back, feeling somewhat dizzy and lightheaded again, I touch my forehead with my hand once more. I’m still torn between regretting that I was unable to help Kurosawa and regretting that I tried to save him at all.

Returning my hands to my sides, I turn myself around to head to my room. I won’t be able to sleep in there tonight, but I want to at least see if Kotohime’s okay before going to sleep on the couch out in the living room. Flicking on the ceiling lights, I step inside the room and make my way to the bed, where she’s lying.

Still fully clothed, she lies on top of the bed, almost completely still. The torn cloth wrapped around her head is dyed red and pink with her blood, but the fact that the morbid color hasn’t begun seeping into the pillow beneath her head is proof that the makeshift bandaging did its job in stemming the flow of blood from her injury.

As I near her, casting a shadow on her body, her eyelids begin to flicker. Surprised, I rush on over to her side, kneeling down by the bed. Placing a hand on her shoulder, I attempt to shake her away. “Kotohime! Hey, Kotohime, wake up!”

A faint moan escapes her as she slowly opens her eyelids. Her pupils are unfocused, staring blankly up at the lights shining down on her from above. Slowly, she turns her head, first to one side, then to the other, before her whole body rises up sluggishly so that she’s sitting on top of the bed. Moving very slowly, she looks about the room.

“…where am I… ?” she mumbles to herself using a tone of voice I’ve never heard her use before, sounding much more feeble and joyless compared to the one I’m used to.

“Kotohime… ?” I say her name, sensing something wrong.

“Where… is this… ?” she says again, in that weak voice, slowly turning her head. She doesn’t even seem to notice me, just staring right past me whenever she happens to turn her head in my direction. “…No, no, no, no… I can’t be here. I have to go home, or…”

What’s going on with her?

Amnesia?

[ ] She’s just playing around, right?
[ ] Try to get her attention:
--- [ ] Try to talk to her.
--- [ ] Tap her on the shoulder.
>> No. 28819
[x] Try to get her attention:
--- [x] Tap her on the shoulder.
>> No. 28820
Update~

[x] Try to get her attention:
--- [x] Tap her on the shoulder.
>> No. 28821
[x] Try to get her attention:
--- [x] Tap her on the shoulder.
This will take some more time until he can return to normal.
>> No. 28824
[x] Try to get her attention:
--- [x] Tap her on the shoulder.
>> No. 28825
[x] Try to get her attention:
--- [x] Tap her on the shoulder.

Uh oh.
>> No. 28826
[x] Try to get her attention:
--- [x] Tap her on the shoulder.

Time for another acid trip.
>> No. 28827
[x] Try to get her attention:
--- [x] Try to talk to her.
Our MC sure has an interesting power. Of course, most (if not all) of the MCs that gain some measure of power in THP's CYOAs are support-type so it isn't really a suprise, but still.
>> No. 28828
[x] Try to get her attention:
--- [x] Put a hand on her shoulder.
--- [x] Smile "You are home."
>> No. 28831
[x] Try to get her attention:
--- [x] Tap her on the shoulder.
>> No. 28833
[x] Try to get her attention:
--- [x] Try to talk to her.
Tapping her and having a drug-trip will not help Kotohime in the slightest. While talking to her will make her focus on the present, and we might also learn something about her past.
>> No. 28842
[x] Try to get her attention:
--- [x] Try to talk to her.

This will do.
>> No. 28848
Gulping, I walk a little closer to her, observing her movements. She’s stopped looking around the room, her eyes fixated on the floor, just staring blankly. Her pupils are dilated and shaking, trembling erratically. She doesn’t say anything at all, the only sounds coming from her being her shallow, short gasps for breath. She doesn’t respond at all to me, ignoring my presence in the room entirely.

Somehow, I feel a little hesitant, but I reach out with a hand to grab hold of her shoulder. If she’s really suffered something because of that head injury, it’s my fault. It was my fault that she got hurt like this, so if there’s anything I can do to help her… I need to go through with it. She got hurt saving my life, so I’m determined to repay her in any way I can.

No amount of determination could have prepared me for what I see next, though.

The moment my hand touches her skin I instantly realize that something is wrong. In my ears, I can only hear faint whispers, so barely audible that I can’t tell if I’m really hearing something or if it’s only coming from my own thoughts. As I stare ahead at the girl still remaining completely still, I feel my body freezing up as well. What is this feeling…? Why is it that I feel so scared, so anxious...? My head feels like it’s being flooded with thoughts, but it’s impossible to make heads or tails of them, much less understand what’s going on.

Ugh...!

A particularly brutal spike of a headache strikes me, and involuntarily, I close my eyes. I can still feel the soft texture of a kimono on my palm, so I know I haven’t let go of her yet, but the thoughts invading my mind cease, and after a moment, I open my eyes, slowly and cautiously.

What...?

What happened to the walls?

What happened to the ceiling?

What happened to the world?

Everything is unlike it was. The walls are crawling, the ceiling is moaning, the door is squirming wretchedly disgustingly repulsively grotesquely and nothing remains still the bed is coming alive and covering the room and there are deadly, festering spores floating around in the air itself the air is made up of nothing but those spores that ooze the noxious pus and all that I can see can see you and hear me and they’re watching me everything everything everything has another side to it that you can see clearly from every perspective imaginable to me and—

In this world turned inside out, only Kotohime remains normal.

Holding in a scream, I draw away, letting go of her. Instantly, the world returns to its correct form. My legs are trembling and my heart is racing and I feel out of breath but everything is back to normal now. What the hell was that? What was that hellish vision that I saw just now...? No, it wasn’t hellish, it was worse than hell. Why...? Why was that shown to me?

“...Ah,”

A small squeak.

Kotohime is staring up at me, her lips parted slightly. Her eyes, no longer trembling, are staring dead straight at my face. Her expression is unreadable, and beyond just staring, she does absolutely nothing at all.

For a few seconds.

And then, her unreadable expression changes to one that is clear to me: horror.

“Ahh... ahhhh... Ahhhhhhhhh!

Screaming so loud that my ears begin to ring, she turns herself around, scrambling away from me as fast as she can until she’s backed against the wall. Her movements are panicked and frantic, her hair in a complete disarray about her face as she looks at me fearfully. Despite the solid wall behind her, she still tries to crawl back, desperate to get as far away from me as possible. Her chest is heaving up and down furiously, and her whole body’s shaking like crazy!

“Kotohime!” I call her name out again, taking a step forward.

“No! Stay back!” she shrieks, grabbing the pillow next to her and flinging it at me as hard as she can.

Raising an arm, I stop and let the pillow bounce off my arm and fall to the floor. By now, she’s stopped trying to crawl back, and has curled up, hugging her knees to her chest like she’s trying to make herself look as small as possible, like a child. She continues to tremble, tears leaking out from the corner of her eyes.

“P-please...” she stutters in that feeble, pitiful voice. “...Please, leave me alone... Just leave me alone...!”

[ ] Try to calm her down.
[ ] Do as she says.
>> No. 28849
[x] Try to calm her down.
In that crazy world, the only natural thing we saw was Kotohime. Presuming she saw the same, she knows we are clearly human and of no harm.
>> No. 28850
[ ] Do as she says.

Saya no uta?
>> No. 28851
File 128030217986.jpg - (37.21KB , 390x800 , 31ec85a7eb724aac4f2572c79607f10d.jpg ) [iqdb]
28851
Pic very related.

[x] Try to calm her down.
>> No. 28853
[x] Try to calm her down.
[x] Try to do or say something only you would say or do. Something that she'd understand that you mean no harm. Maybe her ears are as cloudy as her eyes. Find paper, write something. There's got to be a way.

>>28849
That's presuming. But we didn't see what we looked like. We could look like a monster to her. She sees things differently than we do, which has been made obvious twice. We are an oddity in this world, after all. A stain. We can feel what others are feeling. Even Kurosawa changed into a monster.

Perhaps what she's seeing is our spiritual form, our soul, or a personification of our mind. She is childish, and pure. We are not. Sariel wants us dead because of that impurity.
>> No. 28854
[x] Try to calm her down.
-[x] Try to do or say something only you would say or do. Something that she'd understand that you mean no harm. Maybe her ears are as cloudy as her eyes. Find paper, write something. There's got to be a way.

Got to try something, feels bad man.
>> No. 28855
[x] Try to calm her down.
>> No. 28856
[x] Try to calm her down.
We need some answers.
>> No. 28857
[X]Try to calm her down.

I'd be freaking out too if it suddenly looked like the whole world turned into Gigyas. Probably spelled it wrong there...

>>28853

It's a possibility, but I'd like to think that his soul isn't so thorougly warped that simply seeing it would drive someone like Kotohime to tears. Besides, he was merely lazy up until Yuuka invaded his home.
>> No. 28858
[x] Try to calm her down.
>> No. 28859
Head injury followed by Meat Circus?
Better get ourselves a white slip and start painting our room crazy.
>> No. 28861
>>28857
It would depend on the extremity of things in this world. I remember an old Ripley's Believe It Or Not episode where a woman pissed off a witch in a hair salon. She took pride in her beauty, and was cursed to see her soul in the reflection of any mirror she looked at. It was ugly. If pride looked like that, imagine what sloth looks like.

Let's say that's not the case. Then perhaps we just saw what she sees. We made a physical instead of just an emotional connection. Maybe it's a hallucination. She's normal, but we're not.
>> No. 28902
...What’s wrong with her? This isn’t like her at all, to be so freaked out like this. Is she... seeing what I saw just now? Does she see the same scene that I just saw, one of a terrible nightmare? Is she scared of me... because I’ve been warped with the rest of the world? Damn it... what’s going on with her? Maybe... it’s because of that head injury. If that’s the case, then I need to help her, no matter what, because it was my fault...

“Kotohime...” I call her name out yet again, lowering the volume of my voice this time, trying to make my voice sound as calm and soothing as I can, as though I’m speaking to a small child. “You need to calm down. It’s just me. Don’t you recognize me...?”

She stares at me with those horror-stricken eyes, her pupils unfocused and shaking. Her mouth dully opens and closes, and once again, she attempts to crawl away from me even though she’s still up against the wall, her bare feet futilely sliding against the surface of the mattress in repeating, panicked motions. Still staring up at me, she shakes her head, not to answer my question, but as if she can’t believe what she’s seeing.

“N-no...” she mutters in a hushed voice, teardrops rolling down her cheeks and falling onto the front of her kimono. “Stay away from me... D-don’t come closer. Don’t touch me...!”

Kotohime extends her arms forward, her fingertips reaching toward me. Instantly, small black mass forms in the air in front of me, swirling around and forming into a solid ball. My eyes widen in shock when the dark ball in front of me begins to glow hot-yellow at its core, resembling a hideous eyeball. This is... her bomb!? B-but if she detonates it here, she’ll kill both of us!

“Move!”

I’m roughly pulled aside from behind by a strong grip, and turning my head to the right, I see Yuuka dashing right by me, pulling her arm back behind the other shoulder as if to backhand something. Lashing out with her arm, she cuts through the glowing orb in front of her with her hand, bits of it sticking to her like it was made of goo. They don’t last long, however, as within a second later, the whole thing just dissipates into the air, leaving no traces in either the air or Yuuka’s arm.

She scowls, turning around and looking at me accusingly before speaking to me in a scathing tone of voice, “...Just what did you do to her?”

“I-I didn’t do anything!”

Yuuka looks doubtful of my claim, though she mentions nothing of it as she turns back around, shifting her glare to the girl still shaking in fright. Kotohime looks up at her, though with none of the horror that she regarded me with. On the contrary, she actually seems relieved to see her there, staring up at her like she’s her savior.

“A-ah...” she mutters out, staring blankly at Yuuka. “Help... me.”

She crawls forward on her knees, reaching out and tightly clenching a handful of Yuuka’s skirt.

“Please... help me.”

Unflinching, unblinking, Yuuka snatches her skirt out of the girl’s grip, taking a step back and putting on a look of disgust. Turning around briskly, she walks past me, and as I turn to continue to look at her, she slips a hand behind my back and shoves me forward, pushing me toward the open door.

“W-what...?” I whisper to her in a bewildered tone.

“Leave her alone,” she says dryly, shoving me along further toward the door.

Shutting up, I walk toward the open door. Lifting my hand, my fingers hover above the light switch as I turn my head to look back at Kotohime, Yuuka going on ahead and leaving the room. The girl on the bed, her kimono disheveled and her hair messy, just watches the doorway with large, hollow eyes, completely unmoving again. Frowning, I flick the light switch off with a heavy heart, leaving the room.

---

November 10, Tuesday

---

I wake with a shiver, feeling a morning chill run down my spine. Groggily opening one eye, I’m greeted by dim light. The cold air singes that eye, forcing me to shut it again in a hurry. Letting out a zombie-like groan, I start to move my stiff limbs, pushing myself off of the cushy surface I’m lying on top of. Once again, I open my eyes, and though the exposure to cold air stings them, I’m able to keep them open this time.

Reaching behind my sore neck to give it a good rub, I look about the room I’m in, my head still in a slight state of daze. It’s dark. Not because it’s late, but because all of the curtains have been shut on account of that vampire living with us. Stifling a huge yawn, I set my feet down on the cold surface of the apartment rug. As I look down at the floor, I see a large blanket lying there in a heap. Strange, I don’t remember going to sleep with a blanket on me.

Again, I let out a yawn, brushing aside the tears and crumb from my tired eyes. As expected, I couldn’t get much sleep last night. Between the horrible memories of Kurosawa’s death, the assault of that cyber-monster, and Kotohime’s breakdown, it’s a wonder I was able to retain my sanity. I should give myself a round of applause... but I won’t, because that would just prove that I did, indeed, go crazy.

Pi pi pi pi!

...the hell was that?

Oh, right, this thing.

I reach into my pocket, having gone to sleep fully clothed. Withdrawing the cell phone, I hold it up in front of me to check the screen. Looks like I have a new voice mail. The number looks familiar, though I can’t identify it on sight. Given that I’ve only really ever called one person on this, though, I guess it’s not hard to guess who the message is from. Punching in a few of the keys, I hold the phone to my ear to listen to the message.

“Yo, it’s me. Man, I haven’t called this number in a long time. I tried it before, but it said it was out of service. So, you finally got your phone re-activated?

Oh, you’re probably curious. I went and visited Sakurazaki. She really hasn’t changed at all, even though she’s married and all. She’s still attending university, but guess what she does for part-time work? She's a miko! I forget which shrine, but anyway, isn’t that kinda neat?

I still haven’t had any word from HQ to return yet, so I guess I’m going to be on break for a little while longer. If you want to hang out, just give me a ring.”


...Miko? Seriously? Well, I guess she found something to do...

Canceling back out into the main menu of the phone, I stare at the clock display: 07:49. I sure work up early, didn’t I? It’s about time for the news to start. Anyway, I’ve got a whole day ahead of me once again, so what should I do?

[ ] Watch the news.
[ ] Check up on...
---[ ] Kotohime
---[ ] Elly
[ ] Call Senpai.
[ ] Go for a morning walk.
>> No. 28903
[x] Check up on...
---[x] Kotohime
---[x] Elly
[x] Go for a morning walk.

Check on your hos and then go jog, you lazy bastard.
>> No. 28904
[x] Watch the news.
[x] Call Senpai.

Obvious choices are obvious.

Let's wait until Yuka wakes up to talk about Kotohime.
>> No. 28907
[x] Watch the news.
[x] Check up on...
---[x] Elly
[x] Call Senpai.

I think we should wait on Kotohime. It'd be a hoot if That Girl was a Hakurei or Moriya Miko.
>> No. 28908
>“A-ah...” she mutters out, staring blankly at Yuuka. “Help... me.”
Well, that turned out shit.

[x] Check up on...
---[x] Elly
[x] Call Senpai.
first Elly, then call him.
>> No. 28909
>>28908
Shit, right?

[x] Check up on...
---[x] Elly
[x] Call Senpai.
-[x] Did someone said Miko?
>> No. 28910
[x] Check up on...
---[x] Elly
---[x]Kotohime
[x] Call Senpai.
>> No. 28913
[x] Check up on...
---[x] Elly
------[x] Tell her about Kotomine
---[x]Kotohime
[x] Call Senpai.
>> No. 28917
I think we should check the news to see if Kurosawa shows up. If there's any evidence of us being there, be it blood, hair, fingerprints or clothing, it could be big trouble.
>> No. 28918
File 128068088994.jpg - (76.47KB , 640x480 , kotomine.jpg ) [iqdb]
28918
>>28913
Kotomine... Kirei!
>> No. 28919
>>28917
That or anything with Renko.
>> No. 28920
File 128069493127.png - (129.88KB , 222x356 , hirano_sakurasaki.png ) [iqdb]
28920
>>28907
I wonder...
>> No. 28921
[x] Watch the news.
[x] Call Senpai
How convenient that Senpai has more time off. Maybe we can enlist him to help us find Renko, not that we really need the help.
>> No. 28922
So, how likely would it be that Renko just happened to be studying in the same Uni as this Sakurazaki girl?

[x] Check up on...
---[x] Elly
[x] Call Senpai.
>> No. 28923
[x] Watch the news.
[x] Go for a morning walk.
[x] Call Senpai.
>> No. 28924
>>28922
Likely; though I think something that has to happen sooner or later is the MC coming to grips with that girl and what happened.
>> No. 28929
[x] Check up on...
---[x] Elly
---[x]Kotohime
[x] Call Senpai.
>> No. 28932
I also realized something: Inviting that girl over would be a bad idea for various reasons, most of all is the very HIGH likelihood of Kana wanting to kill her.
>> No. 28941
...There’s probably no real point in watching the news. I already know that Kurosawa is dead, and that his body was probably discovered by the authorities last night. Watching the report would only remind me of that terrible moment, anyway, and I’ve already lost too much sleep reliving it. There’s no need to pile on even more mental stress like that. Right, it’s time to give my mind some peace.

And probably the best way to start on that is to see how Elly is doing. I’m not sure what’s really going on with Kotohime, or if there is anything I can do for her at all, and I might even make it worse if I do something stupid, so I should leave her be for a little longer. At least with Elly, I know that it’s only physical injury that she’ll eventually heal from... probably.

Having decided that, I stuff my phone back into the pocket of my jeans, stifling another yawn as I make my way to the corridor leading to the bedrooms. On the way, I note that the door to my room, where Kotohime is staying, is still shut. Walking past my room, I arrive at the door leading into the room Kurumi, Elly, and Ellen sleep in. Standing in front of it, I knock against the surface of the door, and receiving no reply I grip the handle and let myself in.

The inside of the room is as dark as the rest of the building, with sunlight almost completely blocked out by the curtains. Fumbling around in the dark, I flick on the light switch. Stepping further inside, I kneel down beside where Elly’s lying. Looking over her face, I feel a little more relieved. It might just be because she was cleaned up a little, but she looks a lot better today than she did last night.

Her eyelids tremble a little before they open. Apparently awakened by the lights, her eyes take a moment to adjust to the brightness before she moves her head, looking at me. Letting out a groan, she moves to lift herself up, though I raise my hand to stop her.

“It’s fine, you don’t have to get up,” I say.

“No, I’m okay,” she says stubbornly as she sits up in her futon, though she’s clearly still pained. “This much isn’t anything at all.”

“...How do you feel?”

“Like I’ve been hit with a mountain, to be honest.”

“That bad, huh?”

“I’ve had worse, though,” she says with a huff, still trying to act tough. “Nothing a day or so of rest can’t take care of.”

Looking past her, I see Kurumi lying on her front on top of her own bed, completely knocked out with her wings tucked in behind her, her face buried in her pillow. A light snoring comes from her direction. Past her, Ellen’s asleep in her bed, with her pet cat curled up next to her head. She’s been sleeping this whole time...?

“She woke up a couple of hours ago, actually,” Elly says, startling me. Can she read minds or something? Or was my face that obvious? “She was up to something in the kitchen for a couple of hours, and then she made me drink something that really stank. Made me feel a lot better, though. After that she went right back to sleep.”

I thought the kitchen smelled a little funny.

“I guess you won’t be going to work today, huh?” I say with a bit of a joking grin.

“Is that all you’re worried about?” she states with a frown.

“...Anyway, it wouldn’t do to take absence without calling in sick, so I’ll go ahead and do that for you.”

I reach into my pocket, withdrawing my cell phone from it. Punching in a button, ready to dial a number, I glance back up at Elly, who’s staring with great interest at the mini-device in my hand, trying to get a better look at the screen.

“You have the number, right?” I ask.

“...Number?” Elly says, completely unaware of what I’m talking about.

Ah, right. I... probably should get around to educating these girls about modern day life some time. It doesn’t seem like they’re familiar at all with recent technology. Just how backwards is the world they come from? From what Yuuka says, it seems technologically they’re way behind us, but then what’s up with that hacker? It can’t have been too long since she arrived at this world, but she’s already learned how to hack using computers...?

...Well, with that said, I don’t know the number to the daycare center either. It might be fine to just leave it and have her explain why she was absent later, but I plan on going out today anyway, so while I’m outside I might just drop by to do that for her.

“Never mind,” I say as I slip the phone back into my pocket. “You just go ahead and rest for today, okay?”

“Ah, yeah, sure...” she says, though she looks somewhat disappointed to see the cell phone go.

I stand up from my crouching position, and Elly slowly lies back down on her futon, pulling up her blanket by herself. She watches me as I turn around and head for the door, flicking the light switch off on the way out.

Once outside, I pull out my cell phone again, withdrawing the crumpled business card still in my pocket and punching in the numbers, making a mental note to enter it into the Contacts list later. Bringing it to my ear, I walk back to the living room, listening to the dial tone.

”’lo?”

“Hey, Senpai.”

“Yo! You’re up early, aren’t ya? I wasn’t sure if you’d be up this early in the morning, so I sent a message instead. Took a hell of an effort trying to figure out how to do that. I really ought to read the manual on this thing.”

“Haha, that sounds like you.”

”Anyway, sure was a surprise to see that number listed in the recent calls. Did something happen?”

“No, nothing of the sort,” I say. It’s probably not a good idea to tell him how the phone was re-activated. “I was just testing it out is all.”

”Well, seems to be workin’ fine, eh?”

“Yeah.”

”That aside, I’ve still got a while to play around. You wanna go somewhere? Hit up a restaurant, go bowling, sing a little karaoke...”

“Just so long as you don’t pick a fight while we’re doing any of that.”

“Not making any promises.”

Chuckling, I switch the cell phone over to my other hand as I walk into the kitchen, holding it to my left ear as I open up the fridge, taking out a bottle of water and setting it on a countertop. “...so you went to see Sakurazaki? And she’s a miko now? Seriously?”

”Seems like it, yeah. She was wearing the uniform and everything. Apparently she gets a decent wage from it, too.”

“Seems kind of like a waste,” I say, uncapping the bottle of water and taking a swig out of it. “That’s a nation’s religious culture being reduced to just another part-time job, you know?”

”That’s just how things are these days. Anyway, I’ll tell you all about it in person. When do we meet up?”

“Let’s see... how about the place we met up last time at... 9?”

”Fine with me.”

“Right, see ya then.”

Beep!

I stuff the cell back into my pocket again, returning the water bottle to the refrigerator.

“Kana?”

She immediately answers my call, appearing behind me. “Yes, master?”

“I’m heading out, so could you fix me up something simple for breakfast a little earlier than usual?”

“That’ll be fine, but...” she frowns. “You sure seem like a busy man all of a sudden, master. Are you seeing someone?”

“Oh come on,” I say, rolling my eyes. “You were listening in on my conversation, weren’t you? It’s just a friend. A guy I knew back in school.”

She giggles into her hand. “How astute of you, master. I thought I’d just tease you a little. Anyway, I’ll get right on that breakfast~”

---

After breakfast, I find myself in the busy streets of the city. Because everyone’s heading to work about this time, the roads and the sidewalks are bustling with people, most of them wearing suits and carrying briefcases, making me feel a little out of place in my t-shirt and jeans. Whipping out my cell phone, which has now obsoleted that expensive wristwatch I used before, I check the time: 8:31.

I actually headed out a bit early, thinking that I’d go for a walk for a bit, but now that I think about it, there isn’t really much that I want to do out here. I could go on over to the convenience, but I’m not short on beer or cigarettes at the moment, so that’s pointless. I guess I could go back home, but it’d suck to leave again after getting comfortable in the house.

I guess I could visit the daycare Elly works at, but do I really need to?

[ ] Go ahead.
[ ] Get to the meeting place early.
[ ] Go back home.
>> No. 28943
[x] Go ahead.

May as well.
>> No. 28945
[x] Go ahead.
(assuming that's the daycare option.)

Let's not have Elly lose her job so soon. And while we're at it, let's get the number of that place so we can call her there in case something comes up... and while we're there, give them ours so they can do likewise.

>>28920
Where's she from?
>> No. 28946
[ø] Go ahead.
>> No. 28947
[x] Go ahead.
Why not.
>> No. 28950
[x] Go ahead.

I think Sempai was trying to get us to see her so we could move on with our life.

>>28945
A Seihou game; which if it was as popular as Touhou, would have yuri fodder between her and VIVIT. (I.e. the MC Got dumped for a robot possibly)
>> No. 28960
[x] Go ahead.
>> No. 28963
[x] Go ahead.
I don't see why not
>> No. 28968
[x] Go ahead.

Well, he went through the trouble of helping her get the job, so it'd be a shame if she lost it so soon.
>> No. 28970
[x] Go ahead.
>> No. 28976
>>28945
http://touhou.wikia.com/wiki/Hirano_Sakurasaki
She's from the 3rd Seihou game.
>> No. 28979
...Well, alright, it’s not too far from here, and though I don’t think the consequences would be that serious, it wouldn’t be good for Elly to skip out on work without a word on her very first week of work. Having settled that little dilemma of mine, I raise my hand to massage the back of my neck as I turn to head off toward the daycare. Oh, and it’d also be nice to properly remember their contact information, wouldn’t it?

It takes almost no time at all to reach the daycare, walking past the outdoor play area and into the building. Looking about the place, I see a bunch of little kids sitting around on the floor, with supervisors watching over the groups of children as they play about with blocks and crayons and things like that. Ugh, with most women in the area ‘working’ as housewives, you’d think there would be less kids put in these centers, but you sure wouldn’t be able to tell with all these children here.

After I’m inside, it’s only a matter of explaining the situation to the guy I talked to before when I came to ask for an opening. The middle aged man in charge of this center seems kindly and understanding enough as I explain the situation to him. Of course, I can’t tell him that Elly was injured fighting a mecha monster, so I just tell him she has a fever and that she should be back soon.

With that business finished, I head back outside, letting out a sigh as I look up toward the sky. Shaking my head, I look over at the small playground set up next to the daycare building, where the children, all probably around the age of five or lower, play in the sand and on the swings and seesaws. Being a kid really is a joy, isn’t it? They’re so innocent, so carefree...

...?

One kid in particular stands out to me. Sitting on a swing but not swinging on it, a kid with short, brown hair and scratched up, bandaged knees remains almost completely still while watching the other kids play. What’s wrong with him? The other kids aren’t ostracizing him, are they? Excluding him from playing with them...?

...That wouldn’t do at all.

Frowning, I walk on over to that swing set. Taking hold of one of the chains supporting the seat, I look over the kid’s shoulder and ask, “You don’t have anyone to push you?”

The kid looks up at me and just stares, not saying anything. His eyes have this weird sort of look to them that I can’t really explain, but it’s just plain unnerving. Finally blinking for once, the kid opens his mouth and speaks in the shrill voice of a young child.

“I saw you before,” he says simply.

“...Huh?”

“Before, when you came,” the kid goes on to explain. “At 14:37:08, you entered the building, and exited it at 14:49:31. I was also out here at that time. You were with the new lady here, weren’t you?”

Ah, that was when I came here to get Elly a job here, wasn’t it...? So this kid saw us here? No, wait, before that, is he just making up numbers or does he seriously remember the actual time we were here down to the actual second? That’s... that can’t be true. What’s with this kid, anyhow?

“Are you her boyfriend?”

“Huh?” I blurt out, brought back down to Earth by the kid’s sudden question. “Ah, no... just an acquaintance, that’s all.”

“Oh, that’s too bad,” the kid says. “She should probably get a boyfriend then. She’s always angry and screaming.”

Is that really something a five year old should be saying...?

“But I like her. She’s funny.”

...Even five year olds have no respect for you, Elly. I kind of really regret giving her this job now.

“Hey mister,” the kid says, turning his head forward. “Push.”

Heaving a sigh, I place my hands on the kid’s back and give him a push, stepping to the side as the kid sways forward and back. Occasionally, I reach forward with one hand to give him a shove on the back. I hope if anyone’s watching they don’t mistake my kind nature for something perverted and indecent. What am I doing, anyway? Playing around with a little kid like this when I've got to be somewhere...

“Is she not coming today?” the kid asks while still swinging around.

“Oh... yeah, she’s got a fever,” I say, reaching into my pocket for my phone.

“I thought so,” the kid says. “It’s already 08:51:56 and counting, so there’s no way she’d be coming this late. On the first day she was here at 08:31:14, and on the second she came earlier, at 08:29:51.”

Looking at the screen of my phone, my eyes widen a little as I see the little number that reads 51 for minutes flicker and change into 52. What the hell? How did he...? He doesn’t even have a watch! There’s no clock anywhere in the vicinity, either! So how did...

Ah, crap, I don’t have time for this. I shove the cell phone back into my pocket, turning to leave as the kid continues to wordlessly swing back and forth, not looking like he’s having fun at all but ceaseless continuing anyway. This probably isn’t something to be worried about, anyway, so I need to hurry up and get going, or I’ll be late.

...

Ten minutes later, I reach the bar we agreed to meet up at. I’m slightly late, but whatever, Senpai isn’t a perfectionist by any means, anyway. He can afford to wait a few minutes, though I’ve noticed that he’s never late for an appointment himself, aside from lessons, anyway. Seeing him up front at the counter, I raise my hand as a greeting, and seeing me, he waves me over.

“Yo, ‘morning,” he says to me as I take a seat on the stool next to him.

“’Morning,” I greet him back with a slight smile.

He’s holding a glass of water in his hand, taking a sip from it. On the other side, though, to his left, I see a half-drained glass sitting on the counter. Was he drinking with someone until now? Well, not that it’s really any of my business, but it does make me curious. Noticing my stare, Senpai looks over to the glass himself.

“Ah, yeah,” he’s quick to explain. “I met someone just outside while on the way here, and I thought I’d buy her just a glass. She’s in the bathroom right now.”

Oh, a woman, huh? What kind of woman would he be... oh.

Oh no.

No way.

“Oh, smart guy,” a dull, weary voice of a woman comes from behind me. “So it was you who he was waiting for. Makes sense.”

My heart sinks as I gaze upon the woman taking a seat on the other side of Senpai, grabbing hold of the glass in front of her and letting the ice in the drink clank against the inside of the cup by swirling it around in a bored manner. As I continue to stare at her with my mouth gaping open, she gives me an annoyed glance with those drooping eyes of hers.

“Would you quit staring at me like that? It’s creepy.”

Why is she...? She’s the one! She attacked us yesterday, dressed up as an angel! How can she be just casually talking to me at a place like this!? She is the same person, right!? The same person as the one who was flying around in that other world throwing energy blasts at us for no reason other than for her own amusement! So... if she tried to kill me back then, how can she be pretending like none of that happened, wearing those office clothes...?

“I said to quit staring.”

Gritting my teeth, I tear my eyes away from her.

Senpai, remaining completely oblivious to my shock, gets up from the stool. “Be right back. I gotta use the bathroom too.”

He leaves us, leaving me alone with this demon of a woman, and that’s probably not an exaggeration. Cautiously, I watch her actions with occasional aside glances. She doesn’t seem to be doing anything unusual, just playing around with her glass and taking sips from it occasionally. She doesn’t seem like she’s about to fly into a berserk rage and blast the building to a crisp, anyway.

What’s her deal? What is she after?

...Now might be the best time to ask.

[ ] Question her.
[ ] Say nothing.
>> No. 28982
[x] Question her.

And being dream beings why would they need to hunt humans?
>> No. 28983
[x] Question her.

Did we just meet boy-Renko?
>> No. 28984
[x] Question her.
-[x] "...So... I guess I'll start."
-[x] "First of all, what the fuck."
-[x] "Second of all, What the fuck."
-[x] "I mean, for shit's sake, was that that strictly necessary?"
-[x] "Are you with that angel prick, or do you guys just like trolling people who have a fucking job to do? You want to screw with somebody, go screw with him. Her. It. Whatever. But if you want to be a pair of useless shits and mess with people, fine, but do it on your own time, not ours. We're struggling just as much as you two."

[x] If the diplomacy route fails:
-[x] Break a bottle over her head and punch her in the snout to establish authority.

>> No. 28985
[x] Say nothing.
>> No. 28988
[x] Say nothing.

It's not like we will get some answers anyway, better skip making a fool out of yourself and pout like a little girl.
I am getting kind of suspicious of Senpai. Something just doesn't add up here and he probably knows more than he shows.
>She should probably get a boyfriend then. She’s always angry and screaming.
I am working on it. Not like there are routes or such but Lion wrote her as an interesting character with many facets. Drinking beer, cute and angry. I can see the most character development with her if you get to know her better. And she would have no problem fitting into the world if she decides to stay.
>> No. 28989
[x] Say nothing.
>> No. 28990
[x] Question her.
-[x] "Sorry for the shock, you just look like someone that tried to killed me yesterday"

We won't get anything from her... unless she is willing to talk. She can just deny everything and, without proof, we'd just end up as the crazy loon.
Let's just pass the ball to her side and hope that she's in the mood to gloat.
>> No. 28992
[ø] Question her.
-[ø] "Sorry for the shock, you just look like someone that tried to killed me yesterday"
>>28983
I think we really did. Maybe the MC mistook the kid's gender.
>> No. 28993
>>28992
Nah, Renko is a GPS system and is in college, the kid in contrast is a human digital lock and is about 5.
>> No. 28994
>>28993
Renko can extrapolate both time and position from looking at the sky/stars. So the kid may just not be exhibiting the 'location' side of that ability set... provided that's what he actually has in the first place.
>> No. 28995
[X] Question her.
-[X] "Sorry for the shock, you just look like someone that tried to killed me yesterday."

>>28993

Protip: Renko is also perfectly capable of reading time down to a fraction of a second with her ability, and is in fact a stickler for everyone else sticking to schedule. She and Maribel are also clearly from the future given the relative technology levels in their canon appearances, so if this story is either contemporary or only slightly in the future, it makes perfect sense for her to be younger.

The only thing that really throws a wrench in the kid being Renko is that her ability works by reading the stars, and this is broad daylight. Even then, that could just as easily be artistic license, so eh.

>>28988

This is Kana country, kid. Elly is simply tsundere bro tier at this point.
>> No. 28996
>>28995
>>This is Kana country

I don't know about that, Elly does seem like a viable option. Don't get me wrong, I love the poltergeist, but for some reason I don't see a relationship working out. We'll see what it comes down to if/when such a vote comes up.

[x] Say nothing.
-[x] "Sorry for the shock, you just look like someone that tried to killed me yesterday"

Maybe they're only batshit insane at night?
>> No. 28998
>>28996

Have you somehow missed this?

>And suddenly, she leans in, standing on the tip of her toes as she wraps her arms around my body. Her lips make their way to my ear, and she whispers into it.

>”I don’t want to disappear from your heart.”
>> No. 28999
>>28998

Good point.
I concede.
>> No. 29000
>>28995
OH SHIT.... you're right... Too bad we never asked the "boy"'s name. (I say "Boy" as Renko has a masculine sense of dress and never the fullest or fastest bloomer)
>> No. 29003
[x] Question her.
-[x] "Sorry for the shock, you just look like someone that tried to kill me, yesterday."
-[x] "Exactly like them, as a matter of fact."
>> No. 29004
[x] Question her.
-[x] "Sorry for the shock, you just look like someone that tried to kill me, yesterday."
-[x] "Exactly like them, as a matter of fact."

Yeah I like this one.
>> No. 29005
[x] Question her.
-[x] "Sorry for the shock, you just look like someone that tried to kill me, yesterday."
-[x] "Exactly like them, as a matter of fact."

I like this one also, maybe in a really casual everyday tone of voice.
>> No. 29044
File 128142018396.png - (419.52KB , 1200x1200 , 10388390.png ) [iqdb]
29044
I’m unable to keep myself from scowling as I look at the murderous woman. She continues to swirl around her glass, watching the ice cubes within it with a bored, uninterested gaze, her eyes only half-open and her face lacking any sort of tension at all, completely relaxed into a deadpan expression.

“Sorry,” I say while trying my best to keep my tone from becoming venomously hostile, though it’s proving to be a bit of a challenge keeping my outrage in check. “It’s just that something strange happened to me just last night.”

“Oh?” Mikazuki says without looking at me, lazily lifting the glass to her lips and taking just a tiny little sip from it.

“Yeah, someone tried to kill me. Someone who looked a lot like you. Identical, actually.”

“Huh,” she says simply, not even provoked into any sort of a reaction. “Does that happen often?”

“No,” I reply, narrowing my eyes. “Just once.”

“Okay then.”

...That’s it? That’s all she has to say? Is she even listening?

“I already told you to stop eyeballing me like that,” she says, though she’s less annoyed and more tired of having to say it.

...Damn it, looks like indirect approaches won’t get to her at all. I’m going to have to flat out confront her about it if I want any results; otherwise she’ll just keep dodging my questions or just completely ignore them. Biting my lower lip in slight frustration, I knit my brows together before I open my mouth to speak again.

“Can I ask you somethi—”

“Can I ask you something first?” she suddenly cuts me off, looking at me with those drooping eyes.

“Eh?’

“Are you...” she begins, trailing off mid-question. Looking just slightly uncomfortable, she leans in forward, lifting one of her hands to her face with the palm facing outward and the back of the hand pointing to her as she whispers. “...Are you gay?”

What.

“You know, if that’s your thing, I don’t really care. But hey, I’m not trying to steal your buddy from you or anything—he’s kind of annoying, actually—so you can stop giving me the stink eye whenever you see me around. I’m not going to get in your way at all—”

“That’s not it at all,” I hiss through clenched teeth. “You and your sister tried to kill me yesterday!”

“I did what now?”

“Don’t play dumb,” I say to her, leaning forward. “You tried to kill me yesterday, and you wanted to make a sport of it.”

She remains silent for a few seconds, before her vapid expression slowly decays into a look of disgusted. “Is this a joke? Are you seriously accusing me of attempted murder? Are you fucking stupid? Why would I do something like that?”

“I don’t know!” I hiss back at her. “But you tried to kill me for no reason!”

“Very funny,” she says with a hard scowl, her drooping eyes now sharp and narrowed in anger. “Go on then. Call the police. Fucking press charges if you can. Oh, I guess I should clear the freezer of all the heads I’ve got in there, because I kill for fun! Oh, you do have proof that I tried to kill you, right? Witnesses? Evidence?”

I can’t say anything to her. What’s with her? Is she still trying to act like she’s a normal person...? Is this all just a facade, or... But anyway, as long as she doesn’t mention shit like flying around and shooting magic blasts, I shouldn’t either. It’d just give her one more thing to mock me for, I just know it.

“Hey, I’m back,” Senpai says as he returns to the counter, completely failing to read the hostile mood between the two of us. “Getting along?”

Mikazuki stands up from her seat with an air of briskness, hefting up her purse and hanging it from her shoulder. Putting on a calm expression against, she begins to walk out of the bar, but stops just before Senpai and tells him, “You should tell your friend to get his head checked.”

...I know what I saw, damn it. I just can’t go into detail without looking like a lunatic.

Senpai blinks curiously at her as she leaves without any further words, not sparing even a single backwards glance at me as she walks out. Shrugging his shoulders, Senpai takes a seat next to me, grinning. “Busy woman, isn’t she?”

“Like I care,” I say, still feeling somewhat annoyed. Waving over the man tending to the bar, I order for a glass of water, drinking it down before turning to Senpai. “What’d you invite her for a drink for, anyway?”

“Eh? Well, ‘cuz I saw her around,” he says, shrugging again. “It’s not bad to treat acquaintances, right?”

“I don’t see why anyone would want to treat her to anything. She’s a bitch.”

“You shouldn’t be so quick to write a person off as just one thing,” Senpai says with a surprisingly insightful expression, his grin becoming a faint smile. “I think she’s a bit interesting, actually.”

“In what way?”

He shrugs his shoulders. “Dunno.”

...Well, if he knew what she was doing yesterday, he’d certainly find her a lot more interesting, I’m sure. Still, come to think of it, Senpai was pretty good at judging qualities of people. He may be incapable of reading the atmosphere and a little dumb even, but when it came to people... he was always startlingly right. He has a natural gift for it, I think. That’s probably why he—

“Anyway, bud,” he says, suddenly clapping me on the back. “Now, could you remind me what I called you out for again?”

“...You’ve already forgotten?”

“Well, see, I was talking with that lovely lady, so I’m afraid I’ve completely forgotten.”

Don’t sound so proud about it.

Well, he did want to talk about something, didn’t he? This might also be an opportunity to ask him about something.

[ ] Ask about his meeting with Sakurazaki.
[ ] Ask about Kurosawa.
[ ] Does he know anyone named Renko Usami?
[ ] Ask about the company.
>> No. 29045
[x] Does he know anyone named Renko Usami?

Probably should get an early start on this.
>> No. 29046
File 128142228646.jpg - (253.24KB , 598x846 , 20a5d4032d620c05f09cf089513bd69b.jpg ) [iqdb]
29046
[x] Ask about the company.
Something is wrong here, he is hiding shitloads from us.
>> No. 29047
[x] Ask about the company.
[x] Ask about his meeting with Sakurazaki.
[x] Ask about Kurosawa.
[x] Does he know anyone named Renko Usami?
>> No. 29048
[1] Ask about his meeting with Sakurazaki.
[2] Does he know anyone named Renko Usami?
=======
[3] Ask about Kurosawa.
[4] Ask about the company.

First, freindly conversation and innocent questions. Then, pressuring him for information about his job, lastest news on kurosawa (aside from, you know, his death), and generally awkward sensitive topics. Detective Gaems.
>> No. 29049
>>29048
Sounds like a plan.

[1] Ask about his meeting with Sakurazaki.
[2] Does he know anyone named Renko Usami?
=======
[3] Ask about Kurosawa.
[4] Ask about the company.
>> No. 29050
[1] Ask about his meeting with Sakurazaki.
[2] Does he know anyone named Renko Usami?
=======
[3] Ask about Kurosawa.
[4] Ask about the company.

If it's a one-thing only choice, though, [x] Does he know anyone named Renko Usami?
>> No. 29051
[x] >>29050

You should specify when multiple votes are allowerd tho.
>> No. 29053
[x] Ask about his meeting with Sakurazaki.
[x] Ask about the company.
[x] Ask about Kurosawa.

With all the Seihou shit cropping up, our priority really might better be knowing about the good people of CC.

...And we already figured out where Renko is (probably), but it'd be exploiting metaknowledge to make use of it, which sucks.

...Also, wtf is up with Bitchpants McOfficeLady not knowing jack? Are they normal by day, psycho by night?

I'm inclined to believe her, but that then raises the question of wtf is going on. (This does not exclude the possibility of her brazenly lying to him purely because she can.)
>> No. 29054
[X] Does he know anyone named Renko Usami?

Or maybe she just doesn't want to compromise her 'normal person' identity by admitting to attempted murder while in public, where someone might hear her?
>> No. 29055
>>29048 here, if its only a one choice thing I'll go with
[x] Does he know anyone named Renko Usami?
>> No. 29056
>>29053
It's an interesting thing... it could be the "Boy" we met or she might be in college. Maybe once Elly gets better we can ask innocently if there's a Usami there.
>> No. 29058
[x] Ask about Kurosawa.
For whatever reason, CC sent Senpai over to talk with Kurosawa. The company is clearly onto some shenanigans, but I don't think Senpai has anything to do with it. He's probably just a lovable pawn.
>> No. 29072
“You wanted to tell me all about how you met up with Sakurazaki, didn’t you?” I remind him, though it’s honestly not really a subject I’d rather discuss after what happened. But still, I have to admit, I am a little curious about how she’s doing. “You know, about how she’s working as a miko now?”

“Ah yeah, I did mention that, didn’t I?” he says, half-snorting, half-snickering. “Y’know what she did when she saw me turn up at the front steps with a flower bouquet in hand? Shut the door in my face and locked it. I had to pound on it for about a minute straight before she opened it again. Can you believe that? That’s no way to treat an old friend, is it?”

“I can believe it,” I say, pretending to clear my throat to conceal a laugh. “She never did like you very much, remember? What flowers did you get her, anyway?”

“Huh?” he stops to think for a bit, staring up at the ceiling. “Carnations. The ones I bought had this really deep, vibrant red, you know? I thought they looked real nice.”

I blankly stare at him in disbelief, though he doesn’t really seem to notice what kind of look I’m giving him at the moment. Though I’m usually unknowledgeable when it comes to things like that, even I can tell why she would be so quick to deny him entrance.

“Come to think of the, the old lady at the flower shop did act kinda funny,” he says, placing a hand on his chin. “Kept asking me who I was giving it to.”

“You didn’t say it was for a married woman, did you?”

“I did. The old lady really changed her tune after that. The whole time she was looking at me like I was about to rob her blind or something.”

Oh boy. Let’s just not even get started on the things he did wrong...

“So? Did you meet her husband?”

“Huh? Nah, he wasn’t in. She said he’s always busy with work and rarely ever comes home.”

“Huh,” I shrug, frowning. I don’t get one thing, though. “If he’s working that hard, then why does she need a part-time job, anyway?”

“I asked her that too, actually. She doesn’t want to just sit around the house doing nothing all day, she says. She’s not suited for living the life of a housewife, she says. Also, apparently she takes a bit of an interest in her current job.”

“Really? I didn’t know she was so religious...”

“Meh. I don’t think her religious beliefs have to do with anything,” he says, shaking his head. “It’s more like she just finds the job to be interesting.”

“Really? Stuff like that seems like a pain to me...” I trail off, looking off to the side. “Hey Senpai, can I ask you something? And don’t ask any questions, okay?”

“Huh?”

“I don’t suppose you know anyone by the name of Usami Renko, do you?”

“You’re looking for ‘em?” Senpai says, raising an eyebrow in curiosity, looking somewhat suspicious. “You were looking for that Kurosawa fellow, too. What’s up with that? You’re not involved in anything weird, are you?”

“Senpai. No questions.”

“Ahh, alright, fine,” he says, raising up his hands in defeat. “Anyway, to answer your question: Sorry, but I don’t know anyone named Usami.”

...Well, honestly, the fact that Senpai knew Kurosawa was a miracle to begin with. I guess I can’t count on something like that happening twice. Actually, I’d be pretty scared if it did happen twice.

“Speaking of which, you still haven’t found him? Kurosawa, I mean,” I decide to ask. Senpai didn’t seem to know earlier that Kurosawa’s already, well, you know... Not in the best of health, to put it very lightly.

“Nope. HQ doesn’t really know what to do with him, seems like,” he says, shrugging his shoulders. “They’re at a loss as to where he is, last time I talked to ‘em.”

“What did they send you here for, anyway? I mean, what were you supposed to meet him for?”

“I told you, didn’t I? I was supposed to negotiate a deal with him,” he says with a frown. “...And if you’re asking what that deal is, I can’t tell you that. Company secret. Now, don’t look at me like that. Every corporation has stuff that they’re don’t want made public knowledge, right?”

Well, I won’t deny that. Still, I can’t help but think that this Kaktus company is up to something here... though it could just be that I’m thinking that way because of all the evil corporation conspiracies you see in fiction.

“Cactus deals in weapons, right?”

“Yup. Tanks, fighter planes, missiles, guns; you name it. They do their own R&D, run their own manufacturing plants, and they even have their own private army,” Senpai says with an air of professionalism that suggests that he’s practiced the line many times before. “They say the chairman’s a real genius. Pretty young, too. Apparently, he was relatively unknown before he founded the group, and then he just rose straight to the top of the world.”

“Seriously? So he went from a nobody to one of the leading figures on the planet?” I say, a healthy dose of skepticism mixed in with the tone of my voice. “How’d he manage to do something like that?”

Senpai shrugs, taking a sip from his glass, draining it empty before slamming it back down on the countertop. “Don’t ask me, man. I guess he had a hell of a drive?”

Well, I sure could use some of his success.

An unfamiliar tone pierces through the air, repeating again and again. Startled by the noise, Senpai reaches down to his waist; the ringing is coming from the cell phone strapped to his belt. Taking it into his hand, he stares at the screen for a moment before flipping it open and holding it to his ear, speaking into it.

“Sakata here. What is it?”

His expression becomes intense as he listens for a few moments, and then suddenly, almost violently, it becomes a look of completely shock.

“He’s what!?” he practically yells into the receiver, standing up from the stool and attracting the attention of pretty much everyone in the bar. “ How? ...Suicide? You’re not pulling my leg, are you...? Ah, okay... yeah, I got it. Right, I understand.”

Sighing, he flips the cell phone shut and straps it back onto his belt. He sits back down on the stool and runs a hand over his face, taking a deep breath. Looking at me, he forces a grim smile before speaking. “...Sorry. Something came up. We’ll have to play around some other time.”

“Ah, yeah, sure...” I say.

There’s probably no need to ask what happened.

Leaving a single note on the countertop to pay for both of our drinks, he takes a quick leave of the bar, leaving me staring at the door as he exits out of it.

Withdrawing my own phone from my pocket, I check the time: 10:31. It’s still pretty early in the morning.

[ ] Head straight home.
[ ] Loiter around somewhere.
>> No. 29073
[x] Head straight home.

Time to check up on people, record the contact information, and possibly ask Elly about that strange kid.
>> No. 29074
[x] Loiter around somewhere

>Carnations
...I thought they meant disappointment.

>“Sakata here. What is it?”
Hey, neat; we finally have a name for Senpai.

Maybe one day the blue fairy will touch us and WE'LL get a name, too, when we become a real boy.

>>29073
Can we just call the goddamn kid Renko already? The only reason the child seems boyish is because Renko's flatness matches only that of Akiha. And there's the clothing, too, but still.

Everything else about the kid is Renko to a damned T.
>> No. 29075
[x] Head straight home.
Spend some time home with your Touhous.
>> No. 29076
[x] Loiter around somewhere

Might as well go ask around and get some clues on who's Renko.
>> No. 29078
>>29074
Ligh red carnations mean respect and admiration. Dark red carnations mean deep and profound love.
Not exactly the most appropriate thing to give to an old, married, 'friend'
>> No. 29079
[x] Loiter around somewhere
Forgot my vote
>> No. 29080
[x] Loiter around somewhere
>> No. 29081
[x] Head straight home.
>> No. 29083
[x] Loiter around somewhere.
Time for a random encounter before we go home. Probably going to run into loli Alice again.
>> No. 29085
[x] Loiter around somewhere
-[x] Maybe head over to that maid cafe?
>> No. 29086
[x] Loiter around somewhere.
>> No. 29103
File 128185037190.png - (83.76KB , 496x438 , 5.png ) [iqdb]
29103
It’s not as though I don’t have anything better to do, but right now, I don’t want to head back home just yet. What happened yesterday with Kurosawa and Kotohime, on top of all the other things that have happened to me lately, is just weighing too heavily on my mind at the moment, and I think a good long walk just staring at the everyday scenery might give me some sort of peace or something. The thought that no matter how bizarre of an event I end up getting involved in, I’ll always have this familiar, mundane world to return to. It’s a strange comfort, but it’s something I can believe in.

Standing up from my seat and leaving the bar, I walk out into the streets. The late autumn breeze gently blows by me, giving me a small shiver as I look up at the cloudy sky. I make a note to wear a jacket the next time I head outside. It’s pretty close to winter, and it’ll get pretty cold even in the day soon enough. Stuffing my hands into my pockets as always, I begin walking down the busy streets of the city.

Staring straight ahead as I maneuver through the busy morning crowd, I look up at the skyscrapers jutting out of the earth like a forest of gigantic buildings. The whole scenery before me is a dull gray color, with people not minding each other in the slightest as they navigate through this huge, overpopulated jungle. Looking at the faces of the people around me, I see no one I recognize. I’m surrounded by complete strangers. For all I know, they could have been born yesterday. The people I saw yesterday could have died since then. I wouldn’t know it.

...That’s never bothered me before, so why is it on my mind now?

Once more, I look up at the tall buildings. The world where Yuuka comes from... it’s a world completely different from ours, isn’t it? Is the scenery over there... much more beautiful compared to the ones we can see? It’s a world of fantasy and make-believe, after all, where youkai exist and technology never advanced, or at least, that’s the impression I’m getting from the castaways here.

I’d like to see it. Just once.

...Ah.

I see that young, blonde girl from before, standing in the middle of the sidewalk I’m walking down with that thick black volume clutched tightly to her chest. The people passing by her don’t seem to notice her, even though the way she’s dressed is a bit peculiar. Actually, paying a bit more attention, there’s a pretty big gap between the girl and the passersby. It almost looks like... they don’t know she’s there, but they’re still avoiding her, almost like an unconscious reaction.

I pause, stopping in my tracks, looking cautiously at the girl. It was clear from the beginning that she’s not a normal girl. What is she? Who is she with? What’s her goal? All these questions have yet to be answered, and until they are, I don’t think I can relax in her presence at all. For all I know, she could be like... like an agent of that angel, or something like that. But then again... what was it that she said last time?

“Can you hear the voices of people calling out to you?”

...She knew. She knew somehow that I had the power to feel other people’s emotions, even before I realized it myself. How is that? Was it because she was the one to give me those powers, or is it because of something else? I... I need to ask her. It might be dangerous, but if I can just ascertain just what she’s after...

Frowning just a tad, I begin to step toward her again as the girl continues to stare dead straight at me. Not saying a word, I approach her, stopping just a few feet away from her and waiting in silence. The small girl smiles mysteriously, lifting her chin to meet my eyes with hers, and opens her mouth to say something.

The space just behind her ripples like the disturbed surface of water, distorting the view behind her. Before the girl in front of me can even begin to speak, a girl close to her age and height emerges behind her, casually strolling through that rippling air like she’s walking through a curtain of water. Almost completely white in complexion, with short silver hair, this new girl steps forward. Her eyes are completely black, lacking pupils, and don’t seem to need to blink, unmoving like the eyes of a corpse.

The blonde girl in front of her turns around alarmed. It’s weird, though. She’s obviously surprised, but she can’t seem to display it. Her eyes are wide, and her mouth hangs open, but it doesn’t quite make for an actual look of shock, only coming off as a dull surprise. She’s not saying anything either, just staring back at the other girl without saying or doing anything else.

The other girl—the one that’s just appeared—she’s not doing much other than staring, either. It’s like these two have just silently agreed to a staring match or something.

Though I was also frozen in shock for a moment there by that girl’s sudden intrusion, I’ve gotten over it, narrowing my eyes to study her for a bit in further detail: She’s definitely around the age of twelve or thirteen, just judging solely by her appearance. She’s wearing a simple blue dress with a skirt that doesn’t quite reach her knees, adorned with a red jewel in the middle of her chest. Underneath is a white dress shirt with large, puffed up shoulders. Flowing from her back is a large black cape which, oddly enough, doesn’t seem to be tied around her neck or attached to her shoulders, simply coming out of her back.

...Ugh, something about her just gives me the creeps.

The silver haired girl lifts her foot, putting one in front of the other to take a very slow step toward the other girl at last. Seeing this, the blonde haired girl in front of me tenses up, watching her every move intensely. As the other girl lowers her foot to touch the ground again, however, her entire body seems to flicker. Before I can even process what’s happening in front of me, the girl simply disappears from sight, accompanied by the brief, sharp sound of static.

And then a moment later, she’s reappeared just an inch away from the blonde haired girl. The latter immediately tries to step back to put space between them again, but before she can, the other girl reaches out with a hand and grabs her by her upper arm.

“Don’t move,” she finally speaks out loud, her voice as dead and lacking in emotion as everything else about her.

Ignoring her command, the blonde haired girl struggles desperately against her, trying to tug her arm away from the girl, who refuses to give even an inch to her, watching her squirm with those deadened eyes of hers while the hand holding her captive remains completely stationary in the air, despite the struggling. The blonde girl struggles and pulls and tugs and tries to free herself from her captor, her lips moving but her voice entirely silent, as if she was just muted or something. Her observer, apparently tiring of the resistance, slowly closes her eyes, and opens them again.

And then she smirks.

In the next instant, she violently tugs at the other girl’s arm, ripping it from her body with a single movement. Holding the torn limb in her hand, she lowers her arm, her expression returned to its neutral, emotionless state as she calmly watches the other girl back away while leaning over in pain.

But...

There’s no blood.

There wasn’t any blood when the arm was ripped away, and there’s no blood dripping out of either the arm or the girl’s body itself.

“That is why I said not to move,” the silver haired girl says, barely moving her lips to speak. “...But you came apart so easily. How poorly made you are. To regard you as a proper creation would be an affront to anyone who takes pride in their work.”

What the...? What is she even talking about?

She tosses the arm aside, to the concrete pavement, where it seems to dissolve into dust and disappear completely. Not knowing what to do, I look around me, at the people just walking past this ridiculous scene as if they’re not even capable of seeing it. Just what the hell is going on here? Are they blind!? What the hell should I do? Should I just... should I just run away from here, or what?!

“I thought I might learn something from studying you, but I see now that it would be a waste of time,” the silver haired girl continues to speak, and as she does, small knives made up of what looks like solid light tinted pink begin to surround her small body, the tips of those cross-shaped knives all pointed directly at the girl standing in front of her. “Get out of my sight, dreck.”

...I think I can guess what’s going to happen next.

[ ] “Stop!”
[ ] Step in front of the girl.
[ ] Do nothing.
>> No. 29104
EAST

MEETS

WEST



Sunday

SUNDAY

SUNDAY
>> No. 29105
Scheiße!
[x] Step in front of the girl.
White Ren, stop killing Ren!
>> No. 29106
[x] Step in front of the girl.

Pretty sure of the outcome but have to vote this way.
>> No. 29107
stepping in the way means we might die
yelling probably wont do anything
watching isn't gonna do a damn thing
wat do?

[x] Step in front of the girl.
>> No. 29108
This is probably the most stupid thing that we ever did. I can think of 7 different methods of instand death
[x] Step in front of the girl.
>> No. 29110
Mist
This is getting kind of familiar...
[x] Step in front of the girl.
>> No. 29112
[x] Step in front of the girl.
Can Alice and that other girl even touch us? I don't think they can interact with our physical plane. At least, I can't recall a scene where Alice touched us.